Lizzie Marx (2016) has been awarded the Art History/University Library Curatorial Prize for her exhibition ‘Smelly Remedy: Womb Fumigation Illustrated in 17th Century Print’. The exhibition was curated using objects from the University Library Collections, and tells the story of how fragrances were used to treat ailments of the womb.
“In the seventeenth century, the womb was regarded as a troublesome and unpredictable organ. Women were believed to be afflicted with ailments including ‘suffocation’ or ‘strangulation’, where the womb supposedly moved away from its natural place. The womb could compress neighbouring organs or release noxious vapours that could cause difficulty in breathing and numerous other complications. To pacify the wild womb, marriage was usually prescribed, but a favoured short-term remedy was fumigation.”
Read more about the prize and watch a video about Lizzie’s research here: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/news/winner-announced-art-historyuniversity-library-curatorial-prize
The exhibition can also be viewed online: https://exhibitions.lib.cam.ac.uk/smellyremedy/