"In All Its Hideous and Appalling Nakedness and Truth": The Reception of Some Anatomical Collections in Georgian and Victorian England

Laurence Talairach-Vielmas


This article explores the reception of some anatomical collections in Georgian and Victorian England. Both private medical museums and public anatomical museums reflected the central role played by anatomy in medical knowledge and education in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, because they were associated with death and sexuality, anatomical museums were both products of enlightenment science and potentially immoral loci likely to corrupt young and innocent women. But, as this article shows, the reasons behind the hostile receptions of some collections varied throughout the centuries, revealing in so doing the gradual professionalization of the medical field and growing monopoly of medical professionals over medical knowledge.

Key words: Anatomical museums - Anatomical models Wax - Audiences

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