Statuette, écorché, male anatomical figure, ascribed to Edward Burch, after an original wax by Michael Henry Spang or Spong [previously thought to be Italian], Britain, after 1761
Male anatomical model with right arm raised.
Anatomical figures such as this, highlighting the muscles of the human body, were used to teach both medical and art students. This example was probably cast from a wax by the Anglo-Danish sculptor Michael Henry Spang (whose statuette of Hogarth is also in the collection of the Museum; inv. no. 311-1885) after a plaster cast of the flayed body of an executed criminal. On acquisition this figure was originally thought to be Italian, but Professor recently identified it as a work cast after Spang, whose wax model of this figure is in the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow. Burch was awarded a premium for a bronze ‘Cast of an anatomy figure, after Spang’ at the Society of Arts, in 1767. Further bronze examples of this figure are known in other museum collections. Burch was a gem-engraver and sculptor, who had great success for more than two decades. His career declined from 1788 and from 1794 to 1812 he served as Librarian at the Royal Academy.
Purchased from Messrs. Alfred Spero, 134 New Bond Street, London in 1945 for £85 under the terms of the John Webb Trust.
Location: Sculpture, room 22, case 2