Musée Dupuytren, A Paris Museum Full of Medical Curiosities

The collection of medical museum, Musée Dupuytren, at Faculte de Medecine in Paris is full of thousands of anatomical curiosities, including wax models, creepy alcohol-preserved specimens (many of which are malformed), an amazing library and even medical wood carvings.

The museum was created in 1835 by Mathieu Orfila, often referred to as the “Father of Toxicology”, at the bequest of French anatomist and military surgeon, Baron Guillaume Dupuytren.

Art of Bleeding has posted a completely gory but utterly fascinating set of photos as has Joanna Ebenstein of Morbid Anatomy.

photos by Art of Bleeding and Joanna Ebenstein

Digital Deviations

Anyone who’s known me for any length of time will know that I’ve never been able to straighten either of my little fingers. My sister (the youngest sibling) and I (the eldest) both have the same issue, although it skipped our brother completely.

It’s not painful, and - with the exception of precluding me from a career as a guitarist - it’s never really interfered with daily life, but I’ve done some research on the condition several times over the years.

I’m reasonably convinced (self-diagnosed) it’s Dupuytren’s Contracture, or “the curse of the MacCrimmons” as the Scotts have referred to the flexed fingers of adult male bagpipers since the 15th century.

I’ve found a perverse pride in my assumed Viking heritage, but none so much as today when I discovered the “International Dupuytren Society" whose logo is basically "The Shocker”!

Dr. Guillaume Dupuytren, the Gregory House of the Hôtel-Dieu, described by his contemporaries “The beast at the Seine,” “The brigand of the Hôtel-Dieu” and “First among surgeons, Last among Men” and who had the pleasure of treating Napoleon Bonaparte’s haemmorhoids.

He famously said:

«Rien n’est pas tante redouter un homme que la mediocrité» - ”Nothing should be feared so much for a man as mediocrity.”


This is Bill NIghy, a great actor, and a sufferer of Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition which causes fingers to be permanently bent inwards towards the palm.

My mother has this condition - but this week had surgery on her right hand where they inject solution into the nerves to make them pop.  Today she went back and they straightened her fingers. She sounds like a child on Christmas morning ”My hand is straight” “my hand is straight I can’t believe it.”