Around London – Resurrection men at the MoL; Hollywood costumes at the V&A; Hanwell locks “at risk”; and, David Nash sculptures at Kew…

October 18, 2012

• A new exhibition at the Museum of London opens tomorrow (Friday) looking at the “murky world” of the early 19th century ‘resurrection men’ and the surgeon/anatomist whom they supplied with bodies. Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men will centre around the 2006 excavation of a until then forgotten burial ground at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. The excavation of the area – which was used between 1825-41 – uncovered some 262 burials and while many contained just one person, others contained a mix of bones providing ample evidence of dissections, autopsies, amputations and the wiring together of bones for teaching as well as evidence animals had been dissected for comparative studies. The excavation revealed that rather than rely on body snatchers, the hospital had used its own ‘unclaimed’ patients for dissection practice. As well as human remains from the find (displayed for the first time), exhibition highlights include various instruments used in early 19th century surgery, a plaster cast of James Legg who was hanged for murder before his body was flayed and cast in plaster for study purposes and a wooden skeleton and other detailed anatomical models made by Joseph Browne. The exhibition runs until 14th April. An admission charge applies. For more details – including the programme of talks taking place alongside the exhibition – see www.museumoflondon.org.uk.

• The three piece white suit worn by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, the blue and white gingham pinafore dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz and costumes worn by Meryl Streep in the recent film, The Iron Lady,  are all making their public appearance in London this weekend with the V&A’s major autumn exhibition. Opening on Saturday, Hollywood Costume features more than 100 iconic costumes designed for some of the big screen’s most unforgettable characters. A three gallery (or three ‘act’) journey covering the silent film era of Charlie Chaplin through to a look at motion capture costume design in Avatar, the exhibition explores the role costume design plays in cinematic storytelling and examine the changing social and technological context in which designers worked over the past century. Sourced from major motion picture studios, costume houses, museums, archives and private collections, the costumes will be  displayed alongside interviews with costume designers, actors and directors. Runs until 27th January. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.vam.ac.uk/hollywoodcostume.

A flight of locks which raise the Grand Union Canal 53 feet over the course of a third of a mile at Hanwell in west London is among the top Grade II heritage sites at risk in England, according to English Heritage. The organisation released its Heritage At Risk Register 2012 this week and announced a new program to examine how Grade II listed buildings not already covered by the register can be assessed. Other “at risk” sites in London include Kensal Green (All Souls) Cemetery – one of London’s “magnificent seven” Victoria cemeteries, Abney Park Cemetery in Hackney, Gunnersbury Park in Houslow and 94 Piccadilly (Cambridge House) in Westminster. For more, see www.english-heritage.org.uk/caring/heritage-at-risk/.

• On Now: David Nash at Kew: A Natural Gallery. New works by renowned sculptor David Nash were officially unveiled at Kew Gardens last weekend. Mostly created using Kew trees which have come to the end of their life whether through storms, lightning or disease, the series of sculptures – created on site since April in a ‘wood quarry’ in the arboretum – has been installed in gallery spaces across the gardens including The Nash Conservatory, the Temperate House and The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. They are displayed along with a series of drawings and short films. Runs until 14th April. An admission charge applies. See www.kew.org.

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One Response to “Around London – Resurrection men at the MoL; Hollywood costumes at the V&A; Hanwell locks “at risk”; and, David Nash sculptures at Kew…”


  1. I went to the preview of Hollywood Costume at the V&A yesterday – I’ve never been so impressed. It’s an absolute must for movie fans – there are decades of iconic costumes on display

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