Christine Borland

Twin, hand-made, child-birth demonstration model

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

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  • 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