Martin van Butchell, a Mayfair dentist, was eccentric and odd!
His first wife died in 1775. He decided not to bury his her, and instead dressed her in her wedding dress, embalmed her with coloured potions (which gave the body a bizare glow), gave her glass eyes and put her in a glass case in his home in Mayfair.
You would be forgiven for thinking he was motivated by love for his beloved partner, but it should be mentioned that his wife had a considerable amount of money that was, according to her will, to be bequeathed to a distant relative as soon as she was ‘dead and buried’!
Van Butchell also charged visitors to see her body, and was of course heavily criticised!
After his own death, van Butchell’s son donated the embalmed body to the Royal College of Surgeons, and sadly it was destroyed by German bombs in 1941.
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