Wax moulage, upper limb Psorpermosis Follicularis Vegetans

Herman Fermor Lawrence (b.1863, d.1936)
Circa 1900
This early 20th century wax moulage displays what was described at the time as 'psorospermosis', an obsolete term for symptoms produced by a number of parasitic protozoa that produce cystlike or sporelike structures in the tissue of hosts. It 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. From Lawrence's original description: "Case for Diagnosis, Psorpermosis Follicularis Vegetans? Eruption was generalized, with intractable prurities. The parts upon the trunk where the eruption first appeared had numerous crusted papules, from which could be exposed oat-shaped bodies, leaving funnel-shaped depressions. Very intractable under treatment, including X-ray therapy." 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
Object type
Named Collection


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