Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Laurence Hutton Collection of Life & Death Masks

(Above) Life mask of William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and death mask of Samuel Hayes Pennington (1806-1900).

(Above) Death mask of Henry Warner Slocum (1827-1894); and death mask of Jonathan Swift (1667-1745).

(Above) Death mask on decorated shield of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) and life mask of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870).

(Above) Life mask of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and life mask of John James Audubon (1785-1851).

(Above) Life mask of John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) and life mask of Abraham Lincoln (1808-1865).


I came across these life and death masks on the Laurence Hutton Collection of Life and Death Masks at Princeton University’s on-line rare books collection. Looking at one of these is as close to the real thing as you can get. I only wish Lincoln had eyes.

It’s a cool thing to think of someone agreeing to have their face wrapped in plaster of Paris gauze, then sit for it to dry, etc. It’s a very tedious thing to do. The dead ones are always easy. They don’t blink and never complain.

An AM Repost from 1/18/09.

9 comments:

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Colin said...

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John Foster said...

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iggyviola said...

The last set of photos of Calhoun and Lincoln shows their characters even in death. While Lincoln has this benevolent and wise look about him, Calhoun has that evil look, Scrooge if you like.

horton said...

See www.undyingfaces.com for more information

Rod MacGregor said...

Looking at Lincoln's mask...seems like he may have moved his eyes during the casting or had a protection on them...Interesting blog.. accordingly,I have also added you to my blogroll.

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

Fascinating!

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