Design of the Week: Bonnie Prince Charlie

By on September 11th, 2023 in Design, news

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Recreation of Bonnie Prince Charlie at age 24 [Source: University of Dundee]

This week’s selection is a lifelike recreation of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Researchers at the University of Dundee’s Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification have recreated the face and head of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

“Charlie”, whose proper name was Charles Edward Stuart, was a claimant to the thrones of Scotland, Ireland and England in 1766. Charles attempted to recover the throne for his Stuart line through a series of battles, but ultimately failed and was exiled. He spent most of his life in Italy, where he eventually died at age 67 in 1788.

The researchers used an interesting process to develop this 3D model. They began by using “death masks”, which are plaster casts made of the recently deceased’s face. While not at all done today due to the availability of photography, in centuries past it was common practice, particularly for notable individuals such as Charlie.

There were two such masks, and they were examined by the researchers. They chose to use photogrammetry to capture the geometry, and evidently used over 500 images to do so.

From there it seems they used some type of CAD magic to tweak the scan into the form Charlie likely had at age 24. The University press release doesn’t describe how this was accomplished, but it is surely interesting.

Once completed, the 3D model was presumably 3D printed and finished with paint and facial adornments. This yielded the rather lifelike bust shown at top.

This is a fascinating approach to facial restoration that I hadn’t realized was possible. From a death mask it now seems clear that facial structure from earlier ages can be derived.

There are many death masks from famous people of the past, so perhaps this technique could be applied to many more.

Via University of Dundee

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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