A fine 19th century anatomical model of the eye in papier-mâché by Dr Louis Theroux
Louis Auzoux (1797–1880) qualified in Paris as a doctor in the early 19th century but instead of pursuing a medical career he set up a workshop making anatomical models. He referred to his models as ‘anatomy clastique’ because they could be dissembled into their constituent parts to reveal the underlying anatomy. Around this time in Europe there was public outrage about the harvesting of cadavers, and wax models, wonderful though they were too expensive for widespread use. These factors and his skill at rendering models which were so faithful to their anatomy ensured a successful business. Sadly the fragile nature of plaster of Paris means that relatively few of his models have survived the ravages of time.
This beautiful example shows the eye sitting on its inferior bony orbit, detailing the peri-orbital muscles, blood vessel and nerves. The eye itself can be removed from its hinged muscular and soft tissue surrounds to reveal a second hinged outer sphere representing the sclera, iris and pupil of the eye. Within this are the lens, the internal aqueous and vitreous chambers in the body of the eye and the emerging optic nerve. The salient anatomical landmarks are labelled or ascribed numbers which would have been detailed in a leger.