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Source: The Illustrated London News, May 7, 1853, p.357
(To the Editor of the ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS.)
IN the ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS, for the 23rd of April, I observed a notice of the manner in which the Royal Society of London had acquired possession of what you very justly consider a most valuable relic—namely, a mask from the face of Sir Isaac Newton.
It has occurred to me, that from the account given in your interesting Journal of the manner by which the Royal Society became possessed of this relic, and from the circumstance of its being (as therein described) much injured by rough usage, it might not be altogether uninteresting to that learned body to be informed that the Hunterian Museum of Glasgow College is in possession of a similar mask, in a state of as perfect preservation as when first taken from the face of the illustrious deceased philosopher.
This cast I received upon the 16th day of July, 1819, from the hands of Mr. Flaxman, upon the occasion of his being in Glasgow for the purpose of superintending the erection of the bronze statue of Sir John Moore—the said mask to be deposited in the Hunterian Museum.
I think it will be still further interesting to subjoin the history recorded in his own handwriting, and attached to the mask, of the manner in which it became the property of Mr. Flaxman himself:—"This cast from the face of Sir Isaac Newton was the property of Mr. Rubiliac, the sculptor, from which he executed the marble statue in Trinity College, Cambridge. After Mr. Rubiliac's death, it passed into the hands of my father, from whom I received it. (Signed) JOAN FLAXMAN, R.A.P.S."—I remain, &c.,
Professor of Natural History, and Custodier of Hunter's Museum.
Glasgow College, May 1, 1853.