Piece of Jeremy Bentham's skin, England, 1832

Made:
1832 in England

Fragment of skin of Jeremy Bentham, who was dissected in 1832, in frame

This skin fragment is from the dissected body of eminent English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). The inscription reads: ‘Part of the skin of the late Jeremy Bentham Esq. Who bequeathed his Body for anatomical purposes, and was dissected, July 1832.’ Dissection was one way to teach medical students anatomy. However, many people saw the body as sacred and were fearful and distrustful of dissection of the dead opposed it.

Bentham left his body, thousands of books and a large estate to University College London. His instructions were to dissect, embalm and dress his body, and place it in a chair. This famous ‘auto-icon’ is still at the university.

Details

Category:
Anatomy & Pathology
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A44694
Materials:
content, skin, human, frame, glass and frame, oak
type:
skin
taxonomy:
credit:
Wellcome Trust