Life-casts of Memiaduluk, Uckaluk, and Captain John Parker - William Day Keyworth Senior (1847)
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KINCM:2007.1450.1=2, Hull Maritime Museum
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In the winter of 1847-8, the Hull Advertiser drew the locals’ attention to the arrival of Memiaduluk and Uckaluk, two teenaged Inuit from Nyatlick, in the Cumberland Sound in the north of Canada. These so-called “specimen[s] of the tribes of the North” had recently arrived on the whaler Trulelove, and would be toured by whaling captain John Parker, to York, Manchester, Beverley and Driffield, where they were seen by some 12,000 people in their “native costume” and accompanied by a canoe, hut, bows and arrows. The ghosts of the three remain in the form of a trio of poignant, life-cast busts, life-cast in plaster by local sculptor William Keyworth. Uckaluk died on her journey home after becoming ill with measles when her boat docked at Orkney. Keyworth was the son of a local marble mason, who, on moving temporarily to London, studied under the leading portrait bust sculptor of the day, Francis Chantrey, as well as with Chantrey’s pupil, Henry Weekes. If the works date from 1847, they cannot be attributed to Keyworth junior, as has previously been claimed, since he was only four at the time. Keyworth senior produced many and varied works during his lifetime, including one of the Leeds City Hall Lions. Victorian wood worker Thomas Wilkinson Wallis visited Hull and had a cast taken of his head by Keyworth, reporting that it was a “nasty job”. The visages of Memiaduluk and Uckaluk suggest that, in what must have been a frightening, exciting, often bewildering visit to Yorkshire, they took the process more and less in their stride.

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Credit: Images are courtesy of the Hull Maritime Museum