Botanical model, fungus, Russula virescens, plaster / papier-mache, made by Viktor Dürfeld, purchased from Chrétian Vetter, Hamburg, Germany, 1890
Papier-mâché models were introduced in the 1800s as they were more robust than the earlier wax models. It also allowed craftsmen to fashion models in sections which could be removed in layers as if a real dissection were taking place. Louis Thomas Jérome Auzoux was a pioneer of this form of modelling who set up a workshop in his home town of Saint Aubin d'Ecrosville in 1827. His medical background enabled him to make highly accurate models while his experiments with papier-mâché resulted in the development of a variety of finishes which incorporated plaster, fabric and glass. The other aspect of Auzoux's success was his application of moulding techniques which allowed him to reproduce his models.
A common feature of many of Auzoux's models is the use of paint on a thin plaster layer which covered the papier-mâché. Studio artists were employed to add the finishing touches using egg tempura which gave a shiny gloss to the finished work. Iron supports were included to reinforce the delicate areas of some models and metal was sometimes used to connect separate parts.
This botanical model was manufactured by the firm run by Dr. Louis Auzoux some time between 1865 and 1884. Its exaggerated size allowed students to easily examine tiny details while the painted colours were often closer to life than the specimens preserved in alcohol which tended to lose their colour. Dr. Auzoux's models were acclaimed throughout Europe and this model was purchased from the German dealer Chrétien Vetter in 1884 some four years after Auzoux had died.
Grob, B.W.J., 'The anatomical models of Louis Auzoux', in 'A descriptive catalogue', Colophon, Museum Boerhaave Communication 305, Leiden, Germany, 2004
Scholtz, Gerhard (2005), Better than the real thing? Models - The Third Dimension of Science.
Acta Zoologica 86 (4), 303-305, doi: 10.1111/ j.1463-6395.2005.00193.x
Chen, Joseph C. T. M.D., Ph.D.; Amar, Arun P. M.D.; Levy, Michael L. M.D.; Apuzzo, Michael L. J. M.D., 'The Development of Anatomic Art and Sciences: The Ceroplastica Anatomic Models of La Specola', Neurosurgery. 45(4):883, October 1999
Geoff Barker, March, 2007