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'Medicine Man: the forgotten museum of Henry Wellcome.' British Museum. 26 June to 16 November 2003.
Jeremy Bentham's skin
Approx. 12 cms x 4cms tapering to 1.5 cms
A44694 The Science Museum
Among the artefacts collected by Henry Solomon Wellcome (1853-1936) is a wedge-shaped piece of Bentham's skin inscribed 'Part of the skin of the late Jeremy Bentham Esqr. who bequeathed his Body for Anatomical purposes, and was dissected July 1832'.
The artefact was on display at the British Museum's exhibition 'Medicine Man: the forgotten museum of Henry Wellcome'. No information as yet has been found to account for how and when the piece of skin came into the possession of Henry Wellcome.
However, the journal Notes and Queries records at least two sightings of either this piece of skin, or perhaps one or two other fragments. In 1856 J. Doran remembers seeing a portion of Bentham's skin in the museum of the Philosophical Institution at Reading, Buckinghamshire (Notes and Queries, 2nd Series, Volume 32, 1856, p. 119), and in 1865 another contributor, W.C.J., records having seen a portion of Bentham's skin in the possession of Dr Henry Duncan Littlejohn in Edinburgh (Notes and Queries, 3rd Series, Volume 8, 1865, p. 524).
Click here to see images of Bentham's skin from the Wellcome Collection. Enter 'Bentham' in the search box.
For more information on the dissection of Bentham's body see: The Old Radical: Representations of Jeremy Bentham ed. Catherine Fuller (1998) p. 51, and The 'Auto-Icon' of Jeremy Bentham at University College, London by C.F.A. Marmoy.
Page last modified on 05 oct 10 15:27