1899 – 1900’s Skull Calendar
This old-school skull calendar was one of my favourite parts of Richard Harris’ exhibition at the Welcome Collection called Death: A Self Portrait. The illustrations were done by Louis Crucius (or Crusius) between 1882 & 1890 and were sold to the Antikamnia, a chemical company based in St Louis in 1890. Antikamnia then used the illustrations in an aggressive marketing campaign including these calendars.
Funny thing is, well not at that funny but you’ll see the irony, this chemical company used these ‘dance-of-death’ inspired illustrations in calendars, sample packs and postcards to market antikamnia medicines which contained the coal tar derivative, acetanilid, an anti-fever drug with pain relieving properties somewhat related to paracetamol, but which would be later shown to be a toxic compound.