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Isaac Newton, d. 1727

Craig Davies for Art-Sheep

What exactly are death masks and why the heck they are so creepy? We’re pretty much wondering that ourselves and we can’t but share your confusion.

After a short search -and by short search we mean Wikipedia, a death mask is a creepy memento made out of wax or plaster created as effigy of deceased people, a custom that dates back to ancient Egypt. It was also used as a permanent record kept of unknown corpses until its later replacement by photography and since it was popular for centuries, some of the most famous people in history have one.

Taken from the Laurence Hutton Collection of Life and Death Masks, located at the Manuscripts Division of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library, here are some images of famous death masks -still sounds creepy by the way, depicting famous people of history, from Abraham Lincoln to Leo Tolstoy.

Images via

 


Elizabeth I, d. 1603
Oliver Cromwell, d. 1658
Jonathan Swift, d. 1745


Laurence Sterne, d. 1768


Benjamin Franklin, d. 1790


Edmund Burke, d. 1797


George Washington, d. 1799


Thomas Paine, d. 1809


John Keats, d. 1821


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, d. 1832


Jeremy Bentham, d. 1832


Samuel Taylor Coleridge, d. 1834


Aaron Burr, d. 1836


Abraham Lincoln, d. 1865


Robert E. Lee, d. 1870


Ulysses S. Grant, d. 1885


Franz Liszt, d. 1886


Walt Whitman, d. 1892


Leo Tolstoy, d. 1910

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