William Burke (centre), Dr Alexander Monro III (top left), William Robertson (top right), Thomas Beveridge (lower left), Dr Robert Knox (lower right) Silhouettes, c. 1830.
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About this work
William Burke, whose silhouette appears in the centre on a larger scale than the others, stood trial in 1828 in Edinburgh for the murders he committed with his partner, William Hare. The bodies of their victims were sold to Robert Knox, the Edinburgh anatomist, who is depicted at the lower right holding a skull. Burke was condemned to death and it was ordered that his body be publicly dissected. Alexander Monro III, whose silhouette appears at the upper left, carried out the dissection. For portraits of Burke and Helen McDougal, see this catalogue, no. 25731. At the upper right is the silhouette of one of the jurors of the trial, William Robertson, a cooper. The silhouette of a figure holding a quill at the lower left is labelled "Thomas Beveridge." This is probably the Thomas Beveridge who was Senior Assistant-Clerk in the first division of the court of session of Edinburgh
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