About this artwork

Borland is interested in the relationship between art and anatomy, and in the history of medicine. This work was made following the artist's discovery of two hand-made models used by William Smellie (1697-1763), a pioneer of obstetrics in Scotland. Used in child-birth demonstration lessons, the leather and sawdust models contained real foetal skulls. Although they had a macabre and tragic story, the models equally had a positive role as teaching aids. Borland made this model to the exact specifications of the demonstration models, hand-stitching the leather but using a plastic skull. The work poignantly suggests the unknown foetuses used in the original models.

Updated before 2020

see media
  • artist:
  • title:
    Twin, hand-made, child-birth demonstration model
  • date created:
    1997
  • materials:
    Leather, plastic skull, sawdust
  • measurements:
    59.00 x 21.00 x 7.50 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Purchased with the Iain Paul Fund 2000
  • accession number:
    GMA 4321
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Christine Borland

Christine Borland