Swallowing Plates: Fictional Case Studies of Victorian Era Accidents

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Victorian era laryngologist Chevalier Jackson specialized in removing lodged objects from throats and stomachs of his unfortunate patients. What he retrieved, he kept as a collection of organized nails, pennies, and other dangerous bits. His X-rays and artifacts were recently published in the book Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them . These early medical shenanigans and meticulous archives inspired artist Lisa Wood to create The Swallowing Plates. These curious tableaux of come complete with odd “potential” obstructions, nineteenth century tintypes and imaginative “fictional case study” descriptions.

See the pocket knife with mother of pearl handle retrieved from a bleeding throat of a hunter in 1869 Deadwood, South Dakota, the 18 pieces of glass eaten by a suicidal elderly couple, and a doll’s glass eye swallowed by 9-year-old Mary Vanderslice in our gallery. The Swallowing Plates: Objects Swallowed and Recovered From the Human Body catalog is available for purchase online and at the Mutter Museum Store in Philadelphia.

Courtesy Lisa Wood. Read about Mary here.

Courtesy Lisa Wood. Read about Willie here.

Courtesy Lisa Wood. Read about J.B.here.

Courtesy Lisa Wood. Read about Mr. and Mrs. Bellamyhere.

Courtesy Lisa Wood. Read about Adelaide here.

Courtesy Lisa Wood. Read about Miss Lilly here.

Courtesy Lisa Wood. Read about Eleanor here.

Courtesy Lisa Wood. Read about Jane here.

Courtesy Lisa Wood. Read about Phineashere.

Courtesy Lisa Wood. Read about Ruth here.