Ricord speculum, by Mathieu, used on Empress Eugenie, by Ricord, French
A speculum lets a physician look inside the body. American physician Dr Philippe Ricord (1800-89) used this vaginal speculum on Napoleon III’s wife, Empress Eugénie of France (1826-1920). The speculum is made of gilt metal and ivory. These expensive metals show the importance of the physician and the patient. Specula with two valves, such as this, were introduced in 1825.
Problems with vaginal specula include pain felt by the patient and how much light the physician has to perform an examination. The highly polished surface of the valves reflected some light. Specula examinations caused controversy in the 1800s over male doctors performing such an intimate examination on women.
- Clinical Diagnosis
- Object Number:
- vaginal speculum
- furnishing and equipment
- tools & equipment
- medical instrument
- Loan, Wellcome Trust
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.