Chang and Eng the Siamese twins, aged 18, in an oriental landscape. Coloured aquatint.

Credit: Wellcome Collection

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These conjoined-twins are the original Siamese twins, from whom the name derives. Born at Maklong near Bankok in Siam in about May 1811, of Chinese extraction; they were taken to America and then England in 1829, where they were exhibited causing great excitement. They were placed under the medical charge of G.B. Bolton, M.R.C.S., who made extensive observations along with others at the time. After visiting the principal cities in Europe they returned to America to settle as farmers in North Carolina, adopting the name of Bunker and marrying two sisters who bore each of them many healthy children. In 1869 they made another tour through Europe and took advice from eminent surgeons of Britain and France on the feasibility of being separated, with no ultimate conclusion. After having returned to their dual families (which they kept in separate houses) Chang developed bronchitis, which led to their death in mid-January 1874. For sitter see: C.J.S. Thompson, 'The mystery and lore of monsters', London 1930; L. Fiedler, 'Freaks', New York 1978; G.M. Gould and W. Pyle, 'Anomalies and curiosities of medicine', Philadelphia 1896, pp. 151-154

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1 print : aquatint with etching, with watercolour ; platemark 18.9 x 17.5 cm

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The Siamese twins. Chang, and Eng. Aged 18


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Chang and Eng the Siamese twins, aged 18, in an oriental landscape. Coloured aquatint..{' '} Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY


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