Broadside concerning the execution of William Burke, £2800 at Forum Auctions.

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It concerns the execution of William Burke, who, along with William Hare, had found a profitable line in Edinburgh by providing corpses that could be used by Robert Knox for his anatomy lectures in the city.

In 1828, over a period of around 10 months, the two men dispatched and then sold on the bodies of some 16 men and women before they were arrested for the murder of a Margaret Docherty. Following the hanging depicted, Burke’s corpse was itself dissected and his skeleton displayed in the Anatomical Museum of Edinburgh Medical School, where it remains to this day.

Hare had managed to escape prosecution and get out of prison by agreeing to testify against Burke.