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Over December and January we will be looking at objects relating to Burke & Hare, Robert Knox and Crime & Punishment. This week we look at the death mask of William Burke.
Burke and Hare are known for the murders they committed in Edinburgh in 1827 where they murdered at least 16 people. They delivered the bodies to Robert Knox’s dissection room at Surgeons’ Square in exchange for money. There was an unprecedented demand for bodies by the anatomy schools in Edinburgh at the start of the early 19th century. Burke and Hare capitalised on this until they were caught in November 1828.
This death mask was made of Burke after his execution and you can see the noose marks on his neck.