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Model guillotine

Model guillotine

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1796-1816 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved, turned and sawn bone

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Wellcome Collection

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Model of a guillotine, carved from bone. The guillotine has a sliding blade operated by a piece of thread (missing) attached to a turned finial at the top of the frame. The guillotine stands on a platform with fretwork sides and four turned legs, accessible by a flight of ten steps. The 'victim' is a female figure, lying face down, whose the head is missing, but would have originally dropped into the basket beneath when the blade was operated. There is a male figure standing on a piece of bone jutting from the side of the platform which can be slid back and forth. The guillotine's platform and staircase stands on another raised platform, with fretwork sides and four turned legs.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1796-1816 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved, turned and sawn bone

Marks and inscriptions

Wellcome Institute accession number.


Height: 23.5 cm, Length: 13.3 cm

Object history note

Given to the V&A in 1986 by the Wellcome Institute [82/476].

Descriptive line

Bone, carved, French Prisoner of War, 1796-1816

Production Note

Said to have been made by a French prisoner of war during the Napoleonic Wars.




Carving; Turning; Sawing

Subjects depicted

Men; Prisoners; Guillotine; Punishment; Women


Folk Art; War; Politics


Museum of Childhood

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