Exquisite Bodies

30 Jul 2009 – 18 Oct 2009

Event times

10am-6pm Tues to Sun, Thurs until 10pm

Cost of entry


Wellcome Collection

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Buses: 10, 18, 24, 27, 29, 30, 59, 68, 73, 88, 91, 134, 168, 205, 253, 390
  • Tube: Euston, Euston Square, Warren St, King's Cross
  • Train: Euston, St Pancras and King's Cross

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This exhibition explores the forgotten history of the anatomical model, which with its unique combination of serious science and fairground horror provides a rare insight into 19th-century beliefs about the body. In the 19th century, despite the best efforts of body snatchers, the demand from medical schools for fresh cadavers far outstripped the supply. One solution to this gruesome problem came in the form of lifelike wax models. These models often took the form of alluring female figures that could be stripped and split into different sections. Other models were more macabre, showing the body ravaged by 'social diseases' such as venereal disease, tuberculosis and alcohol and drug addiction. Exquisite Bodies looks at the curious, beautiful and grotesque story of the anatomical model.

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