A new exhibition entitled ‘Smugglerius Unveiled’ at the Talbot Rice Gallery features one of The Cast Collection’s most prominent casts: Smugglerius. Originally cast in 1776 under the direction of anatomist William Hunter, Smugglerius was used for teaching at the Royal Academy in London. Cast from the body of a criminal who was hung at Tyburn, Hunter decided that rather than dissect the criminal, he would preserve the body to study the intricacies of his musculature. He is placed in the classical pose of the ‘Dying Gaul.’
The exhibition features a collaboration of artist Joan Smith and anthropologist Dr Jeanne Cannizzo exploring the pathos of the man made into specimen. It is hoped that the viewer will be able to contemplate the complexities of the relationship between identity and anonymity, the changing nature of criminal punishment and the importance of anatomy in both science and art.
Pictures of the newly conserved Smugglerius can be found here. For more information, check out the leaflet (PDF) from the exhibition.