The William Bonardo Collection
of Wax Anatomical Models

An Auction at Christie's South Kensington

Reported from Bangkok, December 2001

Christie's Catalog

According to Christie's catalog, William Bonardo and Lily Binda were "traveling carnivalists." Lily specialized in "physical anomalies" ... including the "elephant-man" from Algeria, the "lion-man" (appropriately named Lionel), "Atlas the Giant," "Bertha the Giant" (who stood 2.7m tall and weighed 185kg) and a woman with the head of a cow. Lily's most audacious exhibit was a woman who was just a head, but with the tentacles of an octopus


  1. An Infant With One Eye (commonly known as a 'Cyclops'). CyclopsThe Christie's catalog describes it as "An extraordinary abnormality: a Cyclops. This child was born in Stockholm. It has only one eye, in its forehead, and survived only a short time. The actual child has been preserved in the Royal Anatomical Museum in Stockholm." [US$ 2,200 - 2,600]
  2. Deformation Of Facial Features. "A baby without a nose, whose mouth is in the center of its right cheek. This child died immediately after its birth." [US$ 2,200 - 2,600]
  3. Siamese Twins. The Christie's catalog waxes: "An extraordinary living phenomenon: Italian 'Siamese twins'. This is a pair of twins who easily surpass the most famous Siamese twins. The two upper bodies merge into one common lower body at the sixth rib, so that the two brothers have only one pair of feet. According to doctors' reports, the two boys have separate stomachs, and their vital functions operate separately as well - one sleeps while the other is awake, one laughs while the other is weeping, the right foot follows the right brother's will, the left one that of the left twin. Both children have sensation, see, hear, have reasoning abilities, speak, and eat separately. Both are healthy, jolly and have lively conversations with each other. They are from Piedmont, and currently three years and three months old. They speak with typical Italian vivacity and gesticulate in a very lively fashion. Of course, they have to hold their heads at a very oblique angle. Each of the twins has his own pair of lungs and his own heart." [US$ 4,300 - 5,700]
  4. A Syphilitic Spongiform Growth. [US$ 1,200 - 1,700]
  5. A Male Bladder Stone Extraction. "The stone is removed through the penis utilizing a lithotrite and mallet." [US$ 3,000 - 3,600]
  6. A Surgical Procedure To Remove A Swallowed Ear Of Grain. [US$ 2,700 - 2,900]
  7. An Operation On The Cranium. Trepanning Method"Using the trepanning method (with drill) to penetrate the skull." [US$ 3,700 - 5,100]
  8. The Replacement Of A Nose. Christie's goes into detail: "A piece of skin is cut from the forehead, but left attached to the side next to the nose to maintain the circulation of the blood. After cutting the piece so that it fits the shape of the nose, it is twisted around and sutured to the body of the nose. The nostrils are formed by inserting silver tubes. After about two or three weeks the skin becomes attached to the face and the piece of skin attached to the forehead is severed. The skin from the forehead is used rather than the skin from the arm, as the arm would have to maintain a continual vertical position which may lead to partial paralysis of the arm muscles." [US$ 3,000 - 4,400]
  9. An Emergency Tourniquet. Christie's words, again: "The hand of a worker who had the misfortune of putting it too close to the blade of a circular saw. In a flash, the bones of his forearm were cut through just above the wrist. A fellow worker wearing a pair of braces took them off and used them to tie the arm. When a doctor examined the patient after about an hour, he isolated the arteries and tied them, sutured the tendons and nerves, and dressed the wound with an antiseptic cloth." [US$ 3,000 - 4,400]
  10. A Demonstration Of The Penetrating Power Of Steel-Jacketed Bullets. Christie's: "Five sections of a male torso, each showing the passage from the chest through the back of a steel-jacketed bullet from a small bore repeating pistol." [US$ 4,400 - 7,300]
  11. A Surgical Procedure For Opening The Esophagus. [US$ 2,200 - 2,600]
  12. Scrofuloderma. Ovarine PregnancyChristie's words: "This illness occurs simultaneously with other scrofulous diseases of other organs, e.g. eyes, bones, glands, etc., or in their aftermath. Most frequently, it affects face, neck and arms, first as a bubo that can reach a remarkable size in or underneath the skin. After some time, the bubo begins to soften, the skin that covers it is ruptured and after the emission of runny pus, a deep ulcer develops which can lead to severe destruction of the skin and the muscles underneath. The disease is tuberculous." [US$ 2,200 - 2,600]
  13. A Pregnant Woman. The Christie's description is sad: "A lady who desired to hide her pregnancy when going to ball and laced her corset so tightly that she suffered a stroke while dancing." [US$ 12,000 - 17,000]
  14. An Ovarine Pregnancy. Christie's: "This occurs when an ovum attaches itself anywhere outside the uterus." [US$ 7,300 - 12,000]
  15. Surgical Procedure On A Woman To Remove A Carcinogenic Growth. [US$ 3,700 - 5,100]


More Unusual Features:

See also The Secret of Kinloch Castle

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