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.
1149 Insect model, worker bee, papier mache / metal / hair, made by Dr Auzoux, Paris, France, 1883. Click to enlarge.

Model of a worker bee

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

This is a papier mache model of a worker bee made in France by Dr Auzoux and purchased by the Museum. In May 1883 the then curator, Joseph Maiden, spent the then substantial sum of 212 pounds on model bees and honeycomb. Made by the Paris workshop of Dr Auzoux, they could be taken apart to show their internal workings. The models formed part of a large display demonstrating methods of bee keeping and processing honey and beeswax.

The bees remained on show for many years. In the 1930s during th...

Summary

Object No.

1149

Object Statement

Insect model, worker bee, papier mache / metal / hair, made by Dr Auzoux, Paris, France, 1883

Physical Description

Model of a worker bee made of papier mache, metal and hair. The bee is black and brown in colour with black antennae decorated with white stripes and folded downwards. The bee has two black eyes, a pair of wings folded back over the abdomen and legs in six sections, two of which are covered in hair. The abdomen is coloured black with yellow stripes and there is a small gold hook underneath that can be used for hanging.

Marks

There is a paper label on the upperside of the body, printed in black 'C' and one on the underside, also printed in black '1'.

Dimensions

Height

40 mm

Width

110 mm

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

12 May 1883

Cite this Object

Harvard

Model of a worker bee 2018, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 22 September 2019, <https://ma.as/1583>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/1583 |title=Model of a worker bee |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=22 September 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Store 4 at the Museums Discovery Centre.

Know more about this object?

TELL US

Have a question about this object?

ASK US