19th Century Papier-Mâché Fetal Skull


  • £1,262
  • €1,495 Euro
  • $1,732 US Dollar


DC Member since 2020
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19th Century Papier-Mâché Fetal Skull

The Fetal Skull is unsigned, but it could well be a non-commercialised prototype by Dr. Auzoux. The quality and accuracy of this skull as well as the subtle and delicate details make this life-sized example very special. It is an extremely rare example with an unpainted finish and amazing patina. I'm surprised this delicate and important object survived all these years.

Medical student Louis Auzoux (1797-1880) was frustrated with the shortage of human corpses available for studying anatomy. Using his own secret papier-mâché mixture, he developed 'dissectible' models, which could be used again and again. Later, he also created models of animals and plants. Introducing papier-mâché as a modelling material was a radical change from earlier modelling techniques. In previous centuries, anatomists and artists made their anatomical models using wax.

While wax models could reproduce anatomical details very accurately, the material was very expensive and too fragile to be handled frequently because the wax would lose its shape. Papier-mâché, on the other hand, was sturdy enough to produce detachable models that could be used again and again, at less than a tenth of the price of similar wax models.


  • H: 90cm (35.43in)
  • W: 90cm (35.43in)
  • D: 41cm (16.14in)


19th Century

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For COLLECTIT! by SPECTANDUM owner Guy Kuypers, the history of his collecting began at the Porte de Clignancourt in Paris with a Napoleon III case filled with Exotic Birds. The colorful birds piqued my imagination and became the beginning of a passion for Natural History, Ethnography, European Works of Art, Antiquities and Curiosities that drive me on all continents, looking for fascinating and rare objects. Whether they are natural or man-made, all have an interesting story to tell.

So, it is finally in this spirit that the collection, which encompasses Natural History, Tribal Art, Paintings, Sculptures and Curiosities from many cultures and periods in history finds its rationale and its roots.

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