The Troglodytes Gorilla by Dr. Auzoux
The Troglodytes Gorilla by Dr. Auzoux
The Troglodytes Gorilla by Dr. Auzoux


The Troglodytes Gorilla by Dr. Auzoux

1863 France

Offered by Peter Petrou

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This model is offered together with the original hand-written list of 1,193 labelled details; the 'Tableau Synoptique du Gorille'.

The existence of Troglodytes Gorilla had first been reported by an American missionary in 1847 and this life-sized animal was modelled by Auzoux from a gorilla which was sent to him, at his request, from Gabon in 1863 by M. De Rayneval, secretary to the Emperor Napoleon III, preserved in a barrel of brandy. It was dissected by Auzoux over several days in the amphitheatre of the Ecole de Médecine in Paris for the benefit of the scientific community and members of the public. Following the dissection it was reported in 'Cosmos', a scientific publication, 'soon the model of the gorilla will be added to the other wonders of the famous anatomist'. The purpose of the model made by Dr. Auzoux was for anthropological research and only three are known to exist: one in the collections of the Musée d'Anatomie Delmas-Orfila-Rouvière, Paris, the second in a private museum and this, the prototype.

Dr. Auzoux was a pioneer of three-dimensional teaching models which he made with a secret recipe containing not only paper but also cork and clay. These models, which he called "anatomy clastique" from the Greek klastos, broken in pieces, were specifically designed to be taken apart, dissected, piece by piece to enable the teaching of students in universities. The initial prototype was modelled by Auzoux and moulds were then taken which were cast and carefully painted and numbered. The models were supplied with a book detailing the numbered parts.

Auzoux used his own models for lecture courses on Anatomy and Physiology and they gained the approval of scientific and medical academies, information he publicised when advertising the models. He also exhibited his teaching models at the industrial shows which took place in the second half of the 19th century, including the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, where they received much praise and many prizes.

The commisaires of the Académie Royale de Médecin frequently praised the importance of the models and in 1831 reported that 'France has the advantage of surpassing the other countries in the art of anatomical imitations'. Auzoux was made a member of the Légion d'Honneur.

Although models of humans, other animals, flowers and insects were sold to universities around the world, including the US, this prototype is one of only three Great African Gorillas known to exist. The model can be seen in a contemporary image of his work online at
Science Museum, London
The Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC
Musée d'Anatomie Delmas-Orfila-Rouvière, Paris
The Great Exhibition of 1851, London
Whipple Collection, Cambridge
Wageningen, Netherlands have a stallion currently on exhibition by Auzoux acquired in 1876
Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, Netherlands
Papieren Anatomie, De Wonderschone Papier-machemodellen van Dokter Auzoux, Boerhaave Museum, Leiden, Netherlands
Margaret Olszewski, University of Cambridge Dissertation 2009
Anna Katharina Märker MPhil 1998 "The 19th century papier-maché models of human and comparative anatomy" by Louis Thomas Jérôme Auzoux
The Fate of Anatomical Collections, Dr Rina Knoeff, Prof Dr. Robert Zwijnenberg
Height 210.00 cm (82.68 inches)
Stock Code
Papier Mache
Made in 1863
Peter Petrou

Peter Petrou
c/o BADA, 20 Rutland Gate

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