The Anatomical Venus, Morbid Anatomies and Strange Attractors

A One Day Symposium to Mark the Launch of the New Book "The Anatomical Venus"


Price: £13 (click here) / £7 (click here) students

Time: 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Please join Morbid Anatomy and Strange Attractor as we celebrate the release of the new book "The Anatomical Venus" (published by Thames and Hudson in the UK and DAP in the US), which explores the strange and fascinating history of seductive female anatomical wax models, which peaked in fashion in the 19th century. Filled with never before published images from around the world, and documented in intricate detail, the book is the result of Morbid Anatomy founder Joanna Ebenstein's global, ten-year photographic quest. Since their creation, these wax women have seduced, intrigued and amazed; this symposium will also attempt to explore the ways in which, to the contemporary eye, they also confound, flickering on the edges of medicine and magic, votive and vernacular, fetish and fine art.


10:00 AM: Joanna Ebenstein, Morbid Anatomy, Author of "The Anatomical Venus:: "An Enlightenment-era St Teresa Ravished by Communion with the Invisible Forces of Science: A Brief Introduction to The Anatomical Venus
10:15: Keynote: Eleanor Crook, Wax Sculptor: The Deliquescent Self: Wax, Anatomies and the Fear of Melting
10:45-12:45: Panel One: Faith, Magic, Theology & The Body: Moderated by Ross MacFarlane, Wellcome Collection
Chiara Ambrosio, Filmmaker: My Grandfather the Spirit Doctor & Me: Listening to Bones and the Voices in the Ether
Emily Evans, Artist and Anatomist: The Use of Human Hair in Art and the Divine
William Maclehose, Historian of Religion and Medicine, UCL: Sleeping with the Divine: Incubation and Dream Healing in the Premodern World
Ross MacFarlane,  Research Engagement Office, Wellcome Library: An Intimate Collection? Tracing Emotions in Edward Lovett's Amulets and Charms
James Kennaway, Historian of Medicine, Newcastle: The Role of Music in Mesmerism
12:45-1:45: Lunch Break
1:45-3:45: Panel 2: Natural and Supernatural: Moderated by Mark Pilkington, Strange Attractor Press
Mark Pilkington, Strange Attractor Press: Echoes of Afterlife: Comparing Textual and Medical Models of Post-Mortem Existence
Christopher Josiffe, Cataloguer at Senate House Library and Writer: Gef! The Strange Tale of An Extra Special Talking Mongoose
Jonathan Allen. Artist, Writer and Educator: The Tarot of Austin Osman Spare
Kirsten Norrie, Artist, Writer, PerformerSecond Sight in Highland Tradition
3:45-5:00: Panel 3: Wax: Moderated by Eleanor Crook, Wax Sculptor
Eleanor Crook: Talk and Wax Modeling Demonstration
Nathalie Latour, Wax Conservator, Paris: André Pierre Pinson, the Wax Modeler of the French Revolution
5:00 - 7:00 Panel 4: Morbid Amusements: Moderated by John Troyer, Centre for Death and Society
John Troyer, Director of the Centre for Death and Society, Bath: That's Not Funny!: Morbidly Amusing Necrophilia Law
Professor Mervyn Heard is a performer, scholar and author of Phantasmagoria: The Secret Life of the Magic Lantern: Phantasmagoria: Ghost-raising for Fun and Profit in the 18th Century
Steven Coates, Musician (The Real Tuesday Weld) and Author: Xray Audio: Soviet Music on the Bone
Image: Anatomical Venuses created by the workshop at La Specola, Florence, Josephinum Museum, Vienna, Austria. Photo by Joanna Ebenstein