The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of Indigenous Cultural Material. This includes artworks, artifacts, images and recordings of people who may have passed away, and other objects which may be culturally sensitive.
2798 Botanical model, 'Grain de ble' (Wheat grains), plaster / metal, made by Dr Auzoux, Paris, France, 1883. Click to enlarge.

A botanical model of a wheat grain and sprout

Made by Auzoux, Louis in Paris, France, 1883.

A botanical model of a wheat grain and sprout made of painted plaster with metal hooks attached to the outside. The wheat grain is beige in colour and opens down the middle to show its interior structure. One side has also been peeled back in sections to show the various layers while the other side is also hinged, enabling it to be opened again. Also accompanying the wheat grain is a model of a seed sprout, which is green and white in colour with roots and bristles attached.

Summary

Object No.

2798

Object Statement

Botanical model, 'Grain de ble' (Wheat grains), plaster / metal, made by Dr Auzoux, Paris, France, 1883

Physical Description

A botanical model of a wheat grain and sprout made of painted plaster with metal hooks attached to the outside. The wheat grain is beige in colour and opens down the middle to show its interior structure. One side has also been peeled back in sections to show the various layers while the other side is also hinged, enabling it to be opened again. Also accompanying the wheat grain is a model of a seed sprout, which is green and white in colour with roots and bristles attached.

Production

Notes

This model was produced by Louis Thomas Jerome Auzoux who was born in Normandy in 1797. He obtained a medical degree in 1818 and was appointed to the surgical department of the Hotel-Dieu, with celebrated Dupuytren, the 'Napoleon of surgery.' The shortage of anatomical teaching materials prompted Auzoux, a year later, to begin experimenting with making models. Models in wax were available but were very expensive. In contrast, papier mache was comparatively inexpensive, stable and able to be easily moulded. Furthermore, it was strong enough to allow each model to be taken apart to show the arrangement of organs. Noting the techniques of Parisian doll and puppet makers, Auzoux developed a paper paste, which allowed papier mache models to harden as a solid, supple, light and durable object. This improved upon the early papier mache techniques of Francois Ameline. Auzoux created models, which could be taken to pieces and reassembled, with each part labelled, showing internal anatomy. He called these models 'Anatomie clastique' and designed them for both lay and expert audiences.

In 1822 he presented a life-sized model of the human pelvis at the Academie Royale de Medicine, and from 1825 commissions from educational institutions flooded in - requesting human, botanical and veterinary models. Auzoux opened a small factory, in Saint Aubin d'Ecrosville, in 1828, soon employing 100 workers. In 1833, Auzoux established a shop in the rue du Poan in Paris. Over the next century and a half the range increased to some 600 models, the majority zoological and botanical with 100 relating to human anatomy. For many years the Auzoux family had a shop in the Rue du medecine in Paris. The shop finally closed in the 1990s and the contents were sold at auction on 22 October 1998.

The models are made with a grey paper pulp, containing granular particles and short fibres. Flax is added to the pulp for models of insect parts, veins and nerves. Auzoux used moulds made from plaster and, later, innovative anatomy moulds for the solid parts of the models. Plaster coats the outside for strength and to provide a base for the paint. The paint is protein-based egg tempera and is protected by a layer of Russian fish glue for models made before 1917, and wood varnish for models made afterwards.

The system of labelling was another of Auzoux's innovations: Labels with pointing hands and numbers show where the parts of the model may be disassembled. Anatomical names of the different model parts form a second order in the hierarchy of the anatomy. A third order is the small round numbered labels appearing on some parts, the associated description of which appeared in the accompanying catalogue.

See B.W.J. Goob, 'The Anatomical Models of Dr Louis Auzoux' A Descriptive Catalogue (Leiden: Museum Boerhaave Communication 305, 2004)

History

Notes

Dr Auzoux's factory in Paris produced many different animal models, including insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, wild and domestic mammals, and botanical specimens. His models were popular for use in teaching and museums developed exhibits comparing the differences between botanical models, human and veterinary structures.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1883

Acquisition Date

23 November 1883

Cite this Object

Harvard

A botanical model of a wheat grain and sprout 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 8 December 2019, <https://ma.as/13351>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/13351 |title=A botanical model of a wheat grain and sprout |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=8 December 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

Know more about this object?

TELL US

Have a question about this object?

ASK US