Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Charles Byrne (1761 – 1783) was an Irishman with pituitary gigantism, standing just over 7' 7", based on skeletal measurements. He found some fame as a circus freak, however, one day his considerable (for the day) life savings were stolen from him. He slipped into a spiral of alcoholism and eventually drank himself to death. In his final days he developed a morbid fear of anatomists, and requested his body be buried at sea. However, against his wishes, John Hunter purchased his remains for the sum of 500 pounds and boiled his skeleton for the Hunterian collection at London's Royal College of Surgeons. Drawn from a photograph in Armand Marie Leroi's excellent book 'Mutants'. Original drawing in pen and a homemade stain made from boiling liqourice flavour cigarette papers. Photographed and then tweaked in photoshop. I prefer the relative subtlety of the original drawing, but my photography facilites at the moment are completely inadequate.