How did you travel to Australia Dr. Pritchard?

On Tuesday I told you all I was looking for Edward Pritchard’s ‘Death Mask’. A cast of his head was taken by Mr. Alexander Stewart of the Phrenological Museum of Edinburgh, and my mind was stuck on wanting to see if it still existed.

Of course certain things are lost over the years through simple misplacement or damage, some items are left in a dank storage facility or placed in an attic never to be thought about until someone comes along and recognises it’s worth.

This is not the case however with Edward Pritchard’s head cast. A million thank yous to the National Museum of Scotland, members of their staff went above and beyond to locate the mask. The head cast currently resides at the Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy & Pathology within the University of Melbourne, Australia!

Both I and the team at the National Museum of Scotland wonder how Edward Pritchard’s head cast ended up in Australia. I have emailed the team at the University to find out how this occurred. The saying ‘Nothing is ever lost, or can be lost’ is certainly applicable here.

Edwards’s connection to Australia dates back to his Grandfather Samuel Perkins Pritchard. The HMS Dromedary was under the command of Samuel Pritchard when it sailed to New South Wales in 1809. Other than through his grandfather, I am unsure of the Australia connection which may have spurred on his placement in Melbourne – there of course may be no reason to it other than the study of Phrenology.

When I receive a reply I shall leave an update. Have a lovely day my lovelies, and don’t forget to take care of yourselves.

You can see Edward William Pritchard’s head cast HERE at the University of Melbourne website, I must warn you though it is rather uncomfortable to look at it. When you connect Pritchard the man to the object and think about the fact it was taken after his hanging it is simply nauseating. Wonderful as the object itself may be, I still can’t help recollecting the description of what the man went through. He did do something which was appalling but for the last minutes of his life, the public gathered and applauded his death, his poor children.



  1. Gail says:

    Hi, I live in Australia and am interested in your article re Dr Pritchard’s death mask – I didn’t realise it was in Australia. Are you able to email me a workable link to the photo of the mask? I am descended from the Pritchard family – Edward was my 4C1R, though I’m not boasting! Edward did have relatives who lived in Australia, but it was unlikely they had any involvement in the death mask ending up here. Some of his cousins were Doctors themselves but none of them came to Australia that I’m aware – some went to New Orleans. His Aunt married a Doctor and they came to Australia but both died before Edward was hung.

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