Death masks of famous people in history
10:39 am
Death masks of famous people in history

Lincoln and Washington
Back in the old days, if you did something as worthy of note as supply the basis for a Roger Daltrey/Ken Russell collaboration (also a hit by the band Phoenix), invent the Panopticon, or write Tristram Shandy, you can bet that someone was going to violate your still-fresh corpse by taking a mold of your face in repose, so that future generations (that’s us) could gawk and say “Looked like a bit of a pillock.”

These images come from the Laurence Hutton Collection of Life and Death Masks, located at the Manuscripts Division of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

Anyone surprise you? The most interesting are probably the masks of Lincoln and Whitman. I think George Washington’s mask absolutely matches his depictions in paintings and currency. Goethe’s would make the best gargoyle.

Elizabeth I, d. 1603

Oliver Cromwell, d. 1658

Isaac Newton, d. 1727

Jonathan Swift, d. 1745

Laurence Sterne, d. 1768

Benjamin Franklin, d. 1790

Edmund Burke, d. 1797

George Washington, d. 1799

Thomas Paine, d. 1809

John Keats, d. 1821

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, d. 1832

Jeremy Bentham, d. 1832

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, d. 1834

Aaron Burr, d. 1836

Abraham Lincoln, d. 1865

Robert E. Lee, d. 1870

Ulysses S. Grant, d. 1885

Franz Liszt, d. 1886

Walt Whitman, d. 1892

Leo Tolstoy, d. 1910

Posted by Martin Schneider
10:39 am



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