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Burns

Robert Burns

Cast of the skull of Robert Burns

Period:
19th Century
Description:

This cast of Robert Burns skull was made on 31 March 1834.

 

His wife, Jean Armour Burns had died and was to be buried beside him in Burns' Mausoleum.  The mausoleum was opened and the cast made from the poet's remains.  The cast was made to satisfy a contemporary interest in the characteristics of the skulls of great men.  This was an aspect of the pseudo science of phrenology which attempted to explain difference in personality by the shape of the skull.  The phrenological examination was reported to have "laid stress on the circumference of the skull, 22 1/2 inches, and what must have been an extremely active brain".

 

Three casts were taken of his skull when the Mausoleum was opened up following the death of Jean Armour - more have been copied since.

Materials/Media:
plaster
Dimensions:
(overall) height 185mm, circumference 590mm
Source:
Robert Burns Centre
Accession number:
DUMFM:0198.129
Digital Number:
BCBN069n
Creation Date:
31 March 1834
Copyright:
Dumfries Burns Club