A Rare Antique 18th Century Macabre Needle In A Box Removed From A Soldier’s Belly In 1745
A Rare Antique 18th Century Macabre Needle In A Box Removed From A Soldier’s Belly In 1745.
The wording on the label reads as follows:
"A Needle, cut out of the Fat of a Soldier's Belly in the ------ on Sunday the 23 of Feb.1745/6.
K. P.------ M:D: F.R.S."
Having contacted the ‘Scottish History and Archaeology
National Museum’, I received a reply in which they explained the following:
“A Jacobite connection is possible – the siege of Inverness took place on 20th February 1746 so this might have been a related injury.
The letters after the name of the person, do however, suggest this was owned by a physician, possibly the physician who removed the needle – thus a souvenir of the operation. M.D. is the initial for someone with medical training, while F.R.S suggests Fellow of the Royal Society.”
Isn’t it blimmin’ fascinating!?
It wasn’t uncommon for surgeons to take mementos from operations they performed, particularly if it was a difficult procedure. These mementos would be showcased for research purposes and as a tool for their teaching work.
The Needle inside this box is sitting on a piece of very old cotton wool (possibly original) and was most probably kept by the British Army Surgeon who removed it, as a souvenir!
This is a unique and most unusual piece of mid 18th century British Military Surgical history.
Condition is good, commensurate with age. Some rust yo the needle. Box is structurally sound.
Measures 7.5cm x 3.7cm x 1.1cm
Weighs 24.56 grams