Collection online

sheath

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1953,0206.1.a-b

  • Description

    Prophylactic sheaths; two; animal membrane; one with pink ribbon to secure (a); wrapped in white paper; outer blue paper cover.

  • Date

    • 1790-1810 (circa)
  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 8 inches
  • Curator's comments

    These sheaths have also been descibed as contraceptive sheaths, but contemporary accounts of the 18th century indicate that their purpose was as prophylactic sheaths worn to prevent disease, and not as a means of birth control in an age when infant mortality was so high. See S. O'Connell, 'London 1753', exhibition catalogue, British Museum, 2003, cat. 3.20 (the two sheaths), and cat. 3.19, a print showing prophylactic sheaths among the tools of a prostitute's trade being thrown from the window of a brothel (see 1868,0808.3896).
    For further discussion, see also D. Gaimster, P. Boland, S. Linnane and C. Cartwright, 'The Archaeology of Private Life: The Dudley Castle Condoms', in 'Post-Medieval Archaeology' 30, 1996, pp. 136-138; D. Gaimster, 'Sex & Sensibility at the British Museum', in 'History Today' 50 (9), 2000, pp. 13 and 15.

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  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:
    2003: 'London 1753', BM Prints & Drawings gallery
    1994 1 Mar-15 Sep, Sweden, Stockholm, Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Sex, Plague and AIDS

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1905

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1953,0206.1.a-b

Contraceptive sheaths; two; animal membrane; one with pink ribbon to secure (a); wrapped in white paper; outer blue paper cover.

Contraceptive sheaths; two; animal membrane; one with pink ribbon to secure (a); wrapped in white paper; outer blue paper cover.

Image description

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Object reference number: MCT2066

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