No tea, no biscuits. Just the taste of bone.

Visiting one of only two charnel chapels (or ossuaries) left in the country left a bitter taste in my mouth. Though it was possibly more sour than bitter. Or tangy. Very musty certainly. Once tasted, never forgotten. Unfortunately, though the internet mentions that admission includes tea and biscuits (how very British), on our visit they didn't seem to be offered to take the taste away. See portfolio here! So to say that Rothwell Charnel House has an atmosphere would be a significant understatement. It is an atmosphere that exudes into your clothes, and adds a certain je-ne-c'est-quoi to your next meal, but whatever that quoi is, it's also a little gritty. Rothwell was still wonderful. And

Strings, pins and dead things

Anatomy illustrations have often switched between the fiction of placing skeletons in lifelike poses and shocking honesty of showing not just the subject, but the tables, the pins, the ropes, even the very hands holding or cutting the body parts in the dissection. Ruini and Bidloo's illustrations didn't shy away from showing the extraneous elements of the dissection. In comparison, some illustrations let the reanimated corpse hold back the veil for them. (An experience that I simply cannot relate to; I find when posing skeletons, they are determined to dislocate joints, stand knock-kneed and in every other way, present themselves as an unattractive mess.) It was these works that inspired my

Thinking about dissection

Channel Four made the first televised autopsy with Dr Gunther von Hagen's in 2002. There was much criticism by people who I can only guess pretended to be shocked that a programme called "The Autopsy" and had explicit warnings on at the beginning and throughout, then contained images of a real dead body. (I actually believe that most of them didn't even watch it, but disagreed with the principle of the general public being able to see a dead body. They may even disagree with medical students learning anatomy from dissection. But I don't know, as I don't know any of them.) Since then, Channel Four produced further episodes in 2006, with decreasing shock. (Link to video of The Autopsy - Life