Sarah Hare was the spinster daughter of a minor member of the gentry. She died in 1744, at the age of 55, after pricking herself while sewing and contracting septicaemia.
Sarah would be entirely forgotten by posterity but for an extraordinary clause she included in her will. She stated that: “I desire to have my face and hands made in wax… and put in a case of Mahogany with a glass”. Her wax effigy survives and can be seen in Holy Trinity Church, Stow Bardolph in Norfolk. Visitors can still open the door of a mahogany cabinet and gaze upon the uncannily lifelike features of this very ordinary, indeed rather plain and dumpy, woman who died two and a half centuries ago.
Answered by: Nick Rennison