In pictures: the anatomy of crime

The fascinating world of forensics comes under the microscope at the Wellcome Collection this February in a major exhibition that charts the history, science and art of forensic medicine, from its beginnings in 13th-century China to the work and tools of modern-day forensic scientists.

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Table of different shades of human iris, by Alphonse Bertillon, 1893 © Wellcome Library, London

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Index cards belonging to forensic pathologist Sir Bernard Spilsbury, c1905-1933 © Wellcome Library, London

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Hawley Harvey Crippen and Ethel Le Neve. Crippen was eventually hanged for the murder of his wife Cora Henrietta. Ethel, Crippen’s mistress, was exonerated of the charge of complicity to murder, 1910 © Wellcome Library, London

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Courtroom portraits from the trial of Dr Crippen, 1910 © Metropolitan Police Service

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‘Sketches of the Seventh East End Crime’, Police News, published on Saturday 17 November, 1888 © Metropolitan Police Service

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Johann Adam Kulmus about to perform an autopsy, 1755 © Wellcome Library, London

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People visiting the morgue in Paris to view the cadavers, including a soldier in full uniform and a mother and her young son, by Richard Brinsley Peake, 1816 © Wellcome Library, London

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‘Kusozu: the death of a noble lady and the decay of her body’. Second in a series of nine watercolour paintings. Here, she has died, and is laid out on the floor covered to her shoulders with a blanket, with a lady and a gentleman in attendance, 16th century © Wellcome Library, London

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‘Kusozu: the death of a noble lady and the decay of her body’. Eighth in a series of nine watercolours. Only a few fragments of bone, including the skull and fragments of rib, hand and vertebrae remain visible, 16th century © Wellcome Library, London

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Anthropometric [the measurement of the size and proportions of the human body] identification, 1893 © Wellcome Library, London

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A page from a 19th-century version of The Washing Away of Wrongs, a Chinese textbook on forensic medicine. Originally compiled by Sung Tz’u in the 13th century, the text remained the principal guide for inquests in East Asia for hundreds of years, 1855 © Wellcome Library, London

Coroner’s plan of Mitre Square, the site of Catherine Eddowes’ murder, a victim of Jack the Ripper © The Royal London Hospital Archives and Museum

Sir Bernard Spilsbury, a famous pathologist who performed some 20,000 autopsies in his near 40-year career. Reproduction of a drawing after G Belcher, 1928 © Wellcome Library, London

Alphonse Bertillon, French police officer and biometrics researcher, 1913

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Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime is on show at Wellcome Collection, London, from 26 February−21 June 2015 and admission is free. Find out more at www.wellcomecollection.org