In its original pine box, the bones wrapped in brown paper, on what is probably the original wood shavings and newspaper lining the base. With stenciled lid bearing paper label to underside for ‘Adam Rouilly & Co, 18 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy Square, London, The House for Human Skeletons etc.’, these half sets include the skull with articulated jaw and removable cap etc.
The box 57cm wide.
One of two in stock.
Notes on the Company:
The Rouilly family traded as Adam, Rouilly & Co. supplying Human Skeletons” operating from 18 Fitzroy Street from 1900-1964, built in 1790, the terraced house was used as offices, showrooms, workrooms and headquarters. From 1901 Painter Augustus John rented the top floor flat. John’s studio was also the headquarters for The Chelsea Art School. A stream of artists, models, family and friends knocked on the front door and climbed the stairs.
In 1920, artists Bernard Menisnky and Roger Fry were also living in the house with members of the Bloomsbury Group of artists, writers and intellectuals also now visiting.
The Adam, Rouilly name prompts questions: Why the Adam? The story that Guy Rouilly took over the business from his father, with a Mr Adam a man who mysteriously vanished, cannot be verified. A possible explanation is that the name E. Rouilly and Sons appeared far down in trade listings. By listing the company, a second time as Adam, Rouilly, it now came at the top under ‘A’
From the 1920’s Guy Rouilly supplied articulated skeletons to all the London Medical Schools and Teaching Hospitals, striving to ensure that the material he offered was of the highest quality. Doctors from all over the world studied in London and the name Adam, Rouilly became known worldwide.
First Class’, ‘Second Class’, ‘Third Class’ and ‘Fourth Class’ were terms used to grade skulls. They related solely to the skull condition and were in no way connected to any social class.
In the early days bones and skeletons were purchased from France, Russia, Germany and India. Reknas, Calcutta, India became the principal supplier from 1937. The trade came under scrutiny in the late 1970’s and the exportation of natural bone material ceased in 1985.
These half sets were supplied in wooden boxes, stenciled with the Adam, Rouilly name, a half set comprised an articulated skull, complete vertebral column, innominate, sacrum and coccyx, half sternum, a hand and foot, and ribs, scapula, clavicle, humerus, radius, ulna, femur, patella, tibia and fibula of one side.
The London office closed in 1976 and Unit 40 on Crown Quay Lane became the company headquarters for the next 25 years.
Adam, Rouilly is less well known for offering Botanical, Zoological, Anthropological and Veterinary Models.
Gorilla skeletons featured prominently in the early records and the Grant Museum of Zoology, University of London purchased a complete disarticulated skeleton in 1928. The last articulated skeleton sold was to the University of Birmingham.
On the 19th October 2018 Adam, Rouilly proudly marked the Centenary of the founding of the Company. Guests, including customers, suppliers and distributors from around the world, gathered at the Museum of the Order of St John in London to celebrate.