A cast plaster death-mask of Ludwig van Beethoven
Cast at LASSCO Three Pigeons by Peter Hone
A death-mask casting of Beethoven was taken on 28th March 1827 the day following an autopsy. The body was washed, clothed and placed in an oak coffin, his head given a wreath of white roses. Beethoven’s hands held a wax cross and a lily.
There has been much research and debate into the cause of the great composer’s death at age 57 but it is thought that his preference for a tipple of wine, that although a banned practice, was still being sweetened with a lead-based additive could have lead to an early death with all of the symptoms found both when he was alive (including hearing loss) and at the autopsy.
His funeral in Vienna was attended by tens of thousands.