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Unidentified photographer 
Skeleton's Carouse 
Stereoview, half, detail 
Private collection of Paula Fleming 
n.a., 21 October 1858, “Skeleton’s Carouse”, Journal of the Photographic Society, vol. V; no. 71, p. 36
A stereoscopic slide is in the shop-windows which seems to us singularly offensive; it is called the “Skeleton’s Carouse:” five or six human skeletons sit at a table, hob and nob, smoke, splutter and frolic, which a ghastly humour that makes the blood curdle. On the day when we first made acquaintance with this abomination, we also read in the newspapers the following report of a police case:--
“At Stratford, James List, aged 35, and William Saville, aged 32, who were described as labourers, were brought before a full bench of magistrates, upon remand for the fourth time, at the Court-house, Ilford Gaol, Essex, on a charge of being implicated in breaking into a vault under the church of St. John, Stratford, and stealing a copper coffin, valued at 10£. The prisoner List being sworn, and cautioned by the chairman in the usual form, made the following extraordinary confession:--“I was employed by Saville, was engaged by him at the church in July 1855. On one Saturday morning I was digging a grave in the churchyard, when Saville said, ‘Jemmy, what do you say to have old Dr. Taylor’s coffin taken out?’ I said, ‘Oh, no.’ He replied, ‘Never mind, let us have it out.’ We then went to the Coach and Horse public-house, and when we returned he brought with him a chisel, hammer, and other articles. Saville and I then went down into a vault under the church. We broke open the brickwork of the vault in which Dr. Taylor was buried. The coffin-lid was taken off, and the coffin was tilted over and taken into the adjoining vault. We removed the copper coffin, which was broken up into pieces. The metal was left in the vault. About a week afterwards Saville said, ‘Jemmy, come and let us have the other out.’ He meant the brother of Dr. Taylor. We then broke up the leaden coffin, and left it until the Monday, when Saville fetched a man with a barrow and some bags to the church, and the metal was taken to a house near the Green Man, in East Street, where it was sold to a ragman. I do not know his name, but I should know the man if I were to see him. I bricked up the vault afterwards, and Saville was drunk under the church. (Saville, at this part of the proceedings, laughs.) I received 10s. 6 p. from Saville for my trouble. Saville made the arrangements respecting the sale of the metal, and I do not know what he received.” List was subjected to a long cross-examination, but his testimony was not in any way shaken. The prisoners were again remanded for a week.”
We are not acquainted with the name of the artist or publisher of the “Skeleton’s Carouse,” and if we were, we should certainly not name either; but should he be a reader of the Times as well as of the Photographic Journal, he will, perhaps, on following the train of thought suggested by the doings of Saville and List, see why the public after all may possibly not like the humour of his human skeletons." 

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