Anthro Ticker

Object of the month: Brass Corset

OMG! Could you imagine wearing this?!

Wellcome Collection Blog

There are a number of objects behind the glass cases of An Idiosyncratic A to Z of the Human Condition that look hostile to the human form: a pair of nail-studded fakir’s sandals; tiny slippers for bound feet; unfriendly-seeming sex toys. The metal corset, however, draws more comments than almost anything: “What a hideous thing!”; “Did someone really wear that?”. Sarah Bentley tells us a bit more about it as our Object of the Month.

The tight-laced corset is most commonly seen as a symbol of oppression, whereby women subjected their bodies to discomfort or deformity in order to maintain an implausible shape. There is, however, an opposing opinion that suggests we’ve inherited the view of 19th century, mostly male, campaigners against the corset.

The brass corset currently on display at Wellcome Collection. The brass corset currently on display at Wellcome Collection.

One such campaigner was the anatomist William Henry Flower, whose household happily continued to wear their…

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