The Periwig Maker animated short film

The Periwig Maker: Animated Short Film About Plague-Ridden London

A wig maker locks himself inside his shop and watches as the plague spreads death through the streets of London.

The Periwig Maker is an animated short film based on the 1722 novel A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Dafoe. It premiered in 1999 and went on to win numerous film festival awards the following year, eventually being nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2001.

The film is a bleak tale set in 1665 London, when the city was in the grips of the Great Plague and an estimated 100,000 people went to their graves. In the film, a wig maker (who uses cadaver hair for his wigs) isolates himself in his shop, documenting the grim scene as the city dies around him.

Author Dafoe was a young child when the plague struck the city. His family took him to the country, but his uncle Henry Foe remained in the city. A Journal of the Plague Year is considered a mostly factual historical account of that time, believed to be based at least partially on Foe’s personal experiences.

The Periwig Maker animated film

The Periwig Maker was directed by Steffen Schäffler and narrated by Kenneth Branagh.

Under the Knife: The Plague Doctor

The Black Plague arrived in Europe in 1347 and proceeded to wipe out a third of the continent’s population in what was a truly dark and terrifying chapter of human history.

Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris of The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice discusses the grim history of the bubonic plague and the iconic plague mask in the second episode of her new web series Under the Knife.

History of the bubonic plague is discussed in Under the Knife with Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris

Under the Knife

Under the Knife is a new web series that focuses on the horrors of pre-anaesthetic surgery with medical historian Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris. If you like the series, consider helping to make future episodes possible right here.

More Under the Knife

Bubonic Plague 2012


Oregon man Paul Gaylord contracted a rare case of the bubonic plague, as known as the “Black Death” in 2012 when he was bit by a stray cat he had named Charlie. Paul was trying to help the cat, who appeared to be choking on a mouse.

Two days later, he awoke with a fever and the chills.

An average of seven cases of the bubonic plague still occur in the US every year.