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

Christina Riggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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
JournalNotes and Records
Volume70
Issue number2
Early online date7 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Keywords

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

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