John Hamilton Mortimer

Two Ecorchés

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
John Hamilton Mortimer 1740–1779
Graphite and ink on paper
Support: 224 × 323 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

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

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