An autopsic art: 'Dr Granville's mummy' in the Royal Society archives

Christina Riggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In 1821, Augustus Bozzi Granville FRS unwrapped and dissected an ancient Egyptian mummy, presenting the results of his examination to the Royal Society in 1825. He commissioned artist Henry Perry to draw the process in stages; these drawings were subsequently engraved by James Basire for publication in the Philosophical Transactions. This article presents the original drawings for the first time, allowing comparison with their engravings. Taken together with Granville’s accounts of the mummy unwrapping, the drawings demonstrate the significant role that illustration and other visual practices played in anatomical argumentation in the early 19th century, as well as the prestige that commissioned illustrations lent to the performance and dissemination of scientific expertise. Moreover, the drawings include one of the key visual tropes of race science – a skull in left-facing profile, mapped with a facial angle – and thus indicate the early incorporation of Egyptian mummies into typologies of race.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-133
Number of pages17
JournalNotes and Records
Issue number2
Early online date7 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Augustus Bozzi Granville
  • Royal Society archives
  • Egyptian mummification
  • mummy unwrapping
  • scientific illustration
  • race science

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