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In the early 19th century cheap broadsides detailing murders or sensational crimes, and the subsequent execution, were sold in the streets for a penny or less at the place of execution of the criminal featured in the particular broadside. These ephemeral publications were intended for the middle or lower classes, and featured the last dying speeches of the convicted. Extremely popular during the Burke and Hare murders, this example detailed Burke’s hanging, after the trial on Christmas Eve 1828. Burke was hanged at 8.15 am on 28th January 1829, in front of a crowd estimated at between 20,000 and 25,000. Seats overlooking the scaffold were hired at prices ranging from 5 shillings to £1, on the following day Burke was publicly dissected. The British anatomy act was passed in 1832 in response to the Burke and Hare, and other anatomy murders, making legal corpses more available to medical schools.


Execution and Confession of Burke. 1829

  • Recreation of titlepage with added historical elements. Printed on handmade paper resembling the look and feel of paper from the period the work was produced (8.5" x 11"), or textured watercolour paper (5"x7"). Printed with archival inks, and packaged in protective sheet and cardboard backing.

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