I shot these a while back while visiting the Musée Dupuytren at the University of Paris medical school and thought I’d share them here. The museum itself is somewhat hard to find (some medical students queried nearby had no idea it existed) and is entered through a series of cluttered academic offices. I was happy to get any pictures at all as photographers normally require written permission, however, the accidental jostling of a rather persistent cough caused my shutter to be repeatedly depressed resulting in these sometimes fuzzy pictures. The museum contains hundreds of preserved specimens, wax moulages representing various pathologies, and — apparently — a demon-goat and the hand of a deceased peacenik.
Back before they had silicon and RealDolls, if you wanted to build a woman, you had limited choices. But this did not deter Madam Du Coudray, an inventive midwife intent on sharing her knowledge of obstetrics with ignorant provincials through models.
She took great care in reproducing the firmness and flexibility of genuine female anatomy. To that end, a fairly sophisticated system of leather straps with wood and iron framing was employed. But the best part has been revealed by contemporary X-rays. Beneath the fabric and stuffing, lending a distinctly natural shape to the form, is the pelvic bone of a young woman.