Child's spinal support, iron, perhaps French, late 18th century
Worn by a child, one arm would be placed into each of the top loops to keep the spinal support in place. Throughout this period, skeletal tuberculosis was a fairly common disease of childhood and survivors were often left with severe spinal deformation that might have required the use of such a corset. The textile covering the iron would have made it slightly more comfortable to wear.
The support was purchased by Henry Wellcome as part of a collection that had previously belonged to Noel Hamonic (active 1850-1928). Two parts were bought: one in June 1928 for £4,400 and consisting mainly of surgical instruments; the second, a collection of pharmacy equipment, in July 1928 for £803.