Saturday, October 4, 2008

Anthropodermic binding

William Corder (1803-1828) was convicted and executed for Suffolk, England's infamous Murder in the Red Barn. The judge passed sentence as follows:

Nothing remains now for me to do but to pass upon you the awful sentence of the law, and that sentence is - That you be taken back to the prison from whence you came, and that you be taken from thence, on Monday next, to a place of Execution, and that you there be hanged by the Neck until you are Dead ; and that your body shall afterwards be dissected and anatomized ; and may the Lord God Almighty, of his infinite goodness, have mercy on your soul!
So my first solid stab at researching public dissection is to look further into this case. I had studied it from another angle during graduate school, because in addition to Corder's body being anatomized, his skin was tanned and used to bind a transcript of his trial. Pictured above--along with a portrait, his death mask, and an illustration of his hanging--it can still be seen today. It was one of the many anthropodermic bindings I wrote and made presentations about. Another, which I had a look at when I was in Boston, is The Highwayman.

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