Intimate Connections: Marie Marguerite Biheron and Her “Little Boudoir”

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

This essay considers the pursuits and occupational trajectory of the Parisian anatomical modeler Marie Marguerite Biheron (1719–95), who was celebrated for her anatomical cabinet. It highlights the role of Biheron’s circle of friends and supporters in nourishing her place in the anatomical world. I argue that a focus on social and affective relations, such as friendship, can enhance our understanding of the careers of female medical practitioners and medical artists like Biheron. Her case provides a useful vantage point to reconstruct how a woman, who could not rely on the support of her family nor, for most of her life, on royal patronage, could successfully engage in anatomical practice and become renowned. Casting further light on early modern economies of care, Biheron’s story also helps illuminate the broader significance of amicable and affective relations in the histories of medicine and natural inquiry.