Friday, April 17, 2009

James G. Mundie's cabinet

I could have spent hours deciding which of James G. Mundie's drawings to feature! His Cabinet of Curiosities is fascinating and includes his sketches from - among other collections - the Mütter Museum. The drawing above is the skull of Caroline Crachami (1815?-1824), whose skeleton is on display in the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Known as the "Sicilian Fairy," Caroline measured 8" at birth and 19 1/2" at death, and was the first person medically diagnosed with what is now called primordial dwarfism. She was displayed on stage, died while on exhibit in London, and autopsied and dissected before her father could claim her remains. They had been sold to anatomist John Hunter (1728-1793) for $500 and now reside next to the articulated bones of 7' 7" Charles Byrne (1761-1783), whose remains had also been obtained by Hunter - against the wishes of the "Irish Giant." Byrne, too, has been beautifully drawn by Mundie:

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