Drawing A Veil over A Villain

In The Four Stages of Cruelty, William Hogarth depicts the body of Tom Nero, a fictitious murderer, being dissected during an anatomy class. From the ceiling hang the skeletons of Burke and Hare, the infamous grave-robbers. Tom Nero might never have existed, but the fate of his mortal remains was entirely plausible: in 1752, the British Parliament had passed a law, permitting the authorities to donate the bodies of executed criminals, as it were, to science.Hogarth was preaching a homily in … [Read more...]

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