WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Ottomised

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Ottomised

This week, the final panel is brought to you by the letters ‘G’ for gruesome and ‘I’ for ick.

Tom Nero’s crimes have not paid, but he has, and has been hanged for all his cruelty and machinations. We see him splayed on an anatomist’s table, grimace permanently plastered on his face, fingers pointing to his own bones now on display for the students and surgeons. He’s lost an eye, just as he did to his horse, and a dog under the table gets a little revenge for his maligned cousins from the first panel.

In the words of the introductory song by Count Orloff in a Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, “Look Away.”

Ottomised

To be ottomised; to be dissected. You’ll be scragged, ottomised, and grin in a glass case: you’ll be hanged, anatomised, and your skeleton kept in a glass case at Surgeons’ Hall.

The Fourth Stage of Cruelty: The Reward of Cruelty, by William Hogarth, 1751, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

Having been tried and found guilty of murder, Nero has now been hanged and his body taken for the ignominious process of public dissection. The year after the prints were issued, the Murder Act 1752 would ensure that the bodies of murderers could be delivered to the surgeons so they could be “dissected and anatomised”. It was hoped this further punishment on the body and denial of burial would act as a deterrent. At the time Hogarth made the engravings, this right was not enshrined in law, but the surgeons still removed bodies when they could.

A tattoo on his arm identifies Tom Nero, and the rope still around his neck shows his method of execution. The dissectors, their hearts hardened after years of working with cadavers, are shown to have as much feeling for the body as Nero had for his victims; his eye is put out just as his horse’s was, and a dog feeds on his heart, taking a poetic revenge for the torture inflicted on one of its kind in the first plate. Nero’s face appears contorted in agony and although this depiction is not realistic, Hogarth meant it to heighten the fear for the audience. Just as his murdered mistress’s finger pointed to Nero’s destiny in Cruelty in Perfection, in this print Nero’s finger points to the boiled bones being prepared for display, indicating his ultimate fate.

While the surgeons working on the body are observed by the mortar-boarded academics in the front row, the physicians, who can be identified by their wigs and canes, largely ignore the dissection and consult among themselves. The president has been identified as John Freke, president of the Royal College of Surgeons at the time. Freke had been involved in the high-profile attempt to secure the body of condemned rioter Bosavern Penlez for dissection in 1749. Aside from the over-enthusiastic dissection of the body and the boiling of the bones in situ, the image portrays the procedure as it would have been carried out.

Two skeletons to the rear left and right of the print are labelled as James Field, a well-known boxer who also featured on a poster in the second plate, and Macleane, an infamous highwayman. Both men were hanged shortly before the print was published (Macleane in 1750 and Field in 1751). The skeletons seemingly point to one another. Field’s name above the skeleton on the left may have been a last minute substitution for “GENTL HARRY” referring to Henry Simms, also known as Young Gentleman Harry. Simms was a robber who was executed in 1747. The motif of the lone “good man” is carried through to this final plate, where one of the academics points at the skeleton of James Field, indicating the inevitable outcome for those who start down the path of cruelty.

The composition of the scene is a pastiche of the frontispiece of Andreas Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica, and it possibly also borrows from Quack Physicians’ Hall (c. 1730) by the Dutch artist Egbert van Heemskerck, who had lived in England and whose work Hogarth admired.[22] An earlier source of inspiration may have been a woodcut in the 1495 Fasciculo di medicina by Johannes de Ketham which, although simpler, has many of the same elements, including the seated president flanked by two windows.

Fasiculo de Medicina, Venice, 1495, by Johannes de Ketham, Wikipedia Commons.

Below the print are these final words:

Moral accompanying The Fourth Stage of Cruelty: The Reward of Cruelty, by William Hogarth, 1751, Public Domain.

From the Tate Museum description:

As a piece of propaganda, this macabre image was calculated to deromanticise criminality and its consequences. It takes place in the Cutlerian theatre near Newgate prison.

Nero has been hanged at Tyburn and, as was the case with other executed criminals, his body is being dissected for the purpose of studying anatomy. The chief surgeon sits in the centre on a high-backed chair with the royal coat of arms hanging above, thus resembling a high court judge. This neatly represents the official process of judgement and punishment, which in the case of hanged criminals could extend beyond death itself.

The skeletons of dissected criminals were usually refused a Christian burial and subsequently displayed as specimens, as can be seen in the niches to the left and right.

 

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Collar Day

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Collar Day

We’ve come to the penultimate piece in Hogarth’s Industry and Idleness series, and it’s a tragic, though not wholly unexpected one. Tom Idle meets his fate: we see that he’s headed to Tyburn.

Collar Day

Execution day.

Industry and Idleness, Plate 11: The Idle ‘Prentice Executed at Tyburn, by William Hogarth, 30 September 1747, Tate Museum.

From the Tate Museum description:

Earlier in the series Idle had chosen gambling and cheating in the churchyard rather than attend the church service. Now he desperately reads a Book of Common Prayer [sic], while a Methodist clergyman evangelises over sin and damnation beside him. The Tyburn gallows, seen in the centre background, was a distinctive tripod-shaped wooden construction on which numerous criminals could be hung at once. After execution there was sometimes a scramble for the corpse between the assistance of surgeons, who required it for research and the teaching of anatomy, and friends and family of the hanged. The coffin accompanying Idle suggests that he is intended to be buried post-execution. However, the skeletons displayed either side of the print suggests that his body will end-up anatomised.

From the Wikipedia description:

Idle now comes, like Tom Nero in The Four Stages of Cruelty, to the reward of his depredations and malice: a felon’s death on the gallows.

The procession from left to right shows a detachment of soldiers riding behind the tumbrel, which contains a preacher with a book labelled Wesley, a reference to Methodism. The cleric vigorously discourses to a now hairless Thomas Idle, who is leaning on his own coffin (marked by the initials “T.I.”). The coach ahead carries the Official clergyman (who will actually preside at the execution). Beyond looms the Tyburn Tree. The executioner lays unconcernedly along one of the crossbeams, smoking his pipe and apparently inured to the nature of his work.

In the right background, more or less well behaved spectators wait. One releases a bird that will fly back to Newgate and give the news that (by the time it’s arrived) the malefactor is dead.

Around and in the midst of the semi-orderly procession, chaos reigns.

In the front center, a woman with a baby is advertising “The last dying Speech & Confession of—Tho. Idle.” although the condemned has not yet arrived at the gallows. To the left, a brawl involves two to four people. To her left, a drunken sot attempts to court her with ridiculous airs, notwithstanding his holding a dog up by the tail. The suspended dog, positioned directly below the gibbet in the picture, prefigures another “cur” who is about to be hanged. Behind them a massive riot goes on while a woman assaults the man pushing over her cart of fruit. A man to the far right peddles something. In one corner are two boys, one pickpocketing and the other resisting temptation, possibly echoing Idle and Goodchild.

The frame of the picture shows Thomas’ ultimate fate, hung on a gibbet for his highway collecting.

Finally, the verse at the bottom completes Idle’s doom.

Proverbs CHAP I Ver: 27, 28
When fear cometh as desolation, and their
destruction cometh as a Whirlwind; when
distress cometh upon them, they shall
call upon God, but he will not answer

 

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.