Death Mask of William Burke

Dublin Core

Title

Death Mask of William Burke

Subject

anatomy, crime, nineteenth century, romanticism, murder, head, medicine, anatomy

Description

A plaster mold of the head of William Burke after his public execution in 1829 for the "anatomy murders." Burke was named by his accomplices as the head of the body-snatching, black-market trade that supplied the Edinburgh's medical school with corpses dug up from graves or freshly murdered for the occasion. Burke was hanged and publicly dissected. This death mask was in the collection of Dr. Robert Knox—the surgeon who benefitted the most from Burke's dark trade. While speculation remains regarding the extent of Knox's complicity, he still managed to continue in his career and had several of Burke's postmortem specimens.

Creator

Unknown; Burke was dissected by Dr. Alexander Monro

Source

Original- Private Collection of Dr. Robert Knox; Current - Surgeons' Hall Museum, Edinburgh

Date

circa 1829

Contributor

Rachel Seiler Smith

Rights

Surgeons' Hall Museum, Edinburgh

Relation

"Cranial Nerves," Charle Bell

Format

Plaster; Still Image

Language

English; N/A

Type

Plaster Mold

Identifier

Coverage

nineteenth century criminal anatomy

Files

Death Mask of William Burke.jpg
deathmask of burke 2.jpeg

Citation

Unknown; Burke was dissected by Dr. Alexander Monro, “Death Mask of William Burke,” Enlightenmens, accessed August 9, 2022, http://enlightenmens.lmc.gatech.edu/items/show/4.

Output Formats