An ‘écorché’ is a model of a human figure which has been flayed to expose the structure beneath the skin. Academy students were encouraged to make drawings such as these in order to improve their understanding of human anatomy.
The Academy owned a collection of casts of flayed figures, which was put together by its first Professor of Anatomy, Dr William Hunter. One of the casts Hunter produced to illustrate his lectures at the Academy was taken from the flayed body of a criminal brought fresh from the gallows at Tyburn.
Gallery label, September 2004