“When Bentham died in 1832, he left behind a will
with a highly unusual request regarding his remains. As the founder
of modern utilitarianism, the philosopher believed it was ethical to
do the most good for the most people. He donated his body to science,
but requested that once researchers had dissected his remains, they
mummify his head and preserve his body, dressed in his own clothes
and padded out with hay, for display. In this way, he would become an
image of himself: an auto-icon.
Bentham’s body sat in a mahogany cabinet in the
college’s Wilkins Building for more than 150 years. But late last
month, UCL curators decided to move the philosopher, or rather his
auto-icon, to a museum-quality glass case in the newly built Student
Centre.” Source: Smithsonian Magazine, 2020.