Wax moulage, Molluscum contagiosum

Herman Fermor Lawrence (b.1863, d.1936)
Circa 1900
This early 20th century wax moulage depicts a young Middle Eastern girl suffering from Molluscum contagiosum, a non-fatal viral infection. One of the risk factors of this virus is crowded living conditions, and as an immigrant to Melbourne at this time, it is very likely this girl was experiencing such conditions. This moulage was created by Dr Herman Lawrence, the first dermatologist of Melbourne’s St. Vincent’s Hospital. Lawrence was following the lead of European moulage makers in giving his waxes realistic details like eyebrows, eyelashes and accurate skin tone. In this era, a wax cast was one of the only ways to accurately document in three dimensions the external symptoms of disease. Lawrence donated his moulages to the University of Melbourne in 1919-1920.
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Object detail

Circa 1900
Accession number
Credit line
Gift of Dr Herman Lawrence, 1919-1920
original/labels ▫ Molluscum contagiosum. (Molluscum Epitheliale) Patient, Assyrian child. Female aet. 10. Attended skin department, St Vincent's Hospital. Papule incised contents exposed and examined under microscope gave numerous Mollusum bodies. Accompanying microphotograph shows mollusum bodies.
Object type
Named Collection


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