Curious Collections

Tuesday
Aug302011

More Finnish Taxidermy

A ways back, Thomas Hamberg submitted images and answers for the Beastly Love questionaire.  See here +  He has just sent me a link to a short video of his home, which is nothing short of remarkable, if not remarkably strange. It's all in Finnish, but you'll get the idea:

http://www.iltasanomat.fi/asuminen/koti-taynna-taytettyja-elaimia/art-1288408148168.html

Also, if you happen to be in Helsinki, Thomas has just opened the only taxidermy-oriented antique store in Finland.  Visitors to Götan Maailma (Göta's world) will find natural history specimens mixed in which curiosities, old medical equipment and other such oddities. Here are a few images:

 

 

Saturday
Jun072008

The Little Museum

hummingbird1.jpgCheck out the beautiful collection of vintage avian taxidermy at www.the-little-museum.com including a large number of Victorian hummingbirds. Gilles Grid purchased the birds - over 50 cases with 100 birds - from various auctions and e-bay.  Many of the birds were old and damaged, and Grid has restored many of them: removing dust, washing the birds with shampoo, remaking legs, feathers, and eyes.  The feathers were given back their luminous sheen with a capillary spray with oil of macadamia.

 

 

Tuesday
Apr152008

The Contemporary Zoological Conservatory

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Morgan Mavis and a bear,

This might be just the solution to my recent comments on the plight of museum taxidermy.  If you're a museum thinking of overhauling your collection and getting rid of those nasty bits and pieces of animal lore, send them to Morgan Mavis and the Contemporary Zoological Conservatory.  Located in Toronto, Canada, the collection of vintage and contemporary taxidermy aspires to the giddy heights of Ark meets Cabinet of Wonders. 

"The CZC wants to create an Ark of visual delights and dizzying proportions, a space that makes you question why and how? A place that overwhelms, crowds, confronts fascinates and titillates a person's sense of wonder. We are not a natural history museum you will not find displays of wildlife in their natural habitat. We are documenting the wild collections and stories of Morgan Mavis. You will witness an overwhelming proportion of taxidermied species in her natural environment.”

read more here: http://thetaxidermyconservatory.com/index.php

Thursday
Jan312008

Steve Plant's House

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The mix of taxidermy and history in Steve Plant's house in eastern France is among the most aesthetically fabulous compendia I've come across in some time.  The bust, the globes, the stuffed Crowned Crane; it is like stepping back into the days when dilettantes rambled the world in search of visual delights.  Plant's originality and humour recently caught the eye of wildly eccentric Lord Whimsy who maintains a website of pastoral dandyism (his phrase) appropriately titled The Affected Provincial's Almanack.  See more pictures and Whimsy's swooning analysis of Plant's house in Whimsy's journal.  A sampling of what you'll get from the Lord:

"Just look at the wonderful blue plaster against the brown shiny flounder floating over seashells of the most deliciously warm ivory, which create a swirling pattern when grouped together in a procession on the mantle. There's a sensibility at work, but nothing as heavy and methodical as a theory is ever imposed upon us visitors. This isn't calculated, but intuitive--and each tableau is a lovely little world of it's own. The house is full of such moments."

A bit raputuous but spot on.

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Friday
Mar162007

Taxidermy Hall of Fame

Taxidermy_Hall_of_fame.jpgOk, now this has got to take the cake: the Taxidermy Hall of Fame of North Carolina Creation Museum and Antique Tool Museum which advocates unequivocally a "stand without apology for the Genesis account of creation and against evolution."  A little more detail is offered by the North Carolina ECHO's (Exploring Cultural Heritate Online) webpage, "the purpose of the museum is to show the creative handiwork of God through the collection, preservation, and creative exhibition of taxidermy specimens of all kinds from all over the world and a wide array of antique carpentry and construction tools and accessories."  Check out the museum's website: http://www.thecreationmuseum.org/ and make sure to see the surprisingly wry slideshow.

On exhibition at the Taxidermy Hall of Fame is every kind of North Carolina wildlife unprotected by the law (they have plastic replicas of protected species), state and national taxidermy ribbon winners, a fur-bearing trout, numerous trophy mounts, and apparently the oldest rock on earth. What taxidermy, creationism, and antique carpentary tools have in common is pretty much up for grabs. But then, why be dull?

The museum is located in the Christian Book Store on Broad Street in historic Southern Pines.  The image is taken from Dean Jeffrey's review of the museum: read it +

Sunday
Feb042007

Chi Mei Museum in Taiwan

In Tainan City in Taiwan, inside the sprawling Chi Mei industrial compound, inside the company's admistrative building, housed on four floors, is the rather unusual Chi Mei Museum.  The museum is dedicated to showcasing Western paintings, sculpture, musical instruments, and antiques, and - yes - taxidermy. 

Chi_Mei

As Pan Hsin-hsin (the museum's public relations manager) explains, there are already art and culture institutions in Taipei dedicated to ancient Chinese artifact.  Chi Mei Museum tries to offer visitors "something a bit different."  Besides, Pan continues in an interview with Max Woodworth for the Taipei Times in 2002, Chi Mei's director Hsu Wen-lung "feels very strongly about Taiwan and doesnt' want to parrot the things we were always taught growing up about China being the biggest and oldest and best civilisation in the world.  Here, he's trying to show people that other civilizations were doing great things often much earlier than Chinese people."  

The collection contains paintings by Degas and El Greco, a 4 meter tall repica of Michelangel's David, an Egyptian mummy (positioned next to a Han dynasty jade burial suit "to show that Egyptians were trying to preserve the death well before the Chinese"), a collection of Stradivari violins (not on display, but often lent to Taiwanese violinists), and a wild selection of taxidermy including 100 North American ducks intriguingly arranged opposite a collection of chain mail and a particularly unferocious polar bear, who appears to be trying to talk his way out of some indiscretion while his lovely marble ladies focus on looking busy. 

image and text from Max Woodworth's article (August 3rd, 2002) for the Taipei Times: read it +
Saturday
Feb032007

Deyrolles Taxidermy Studio

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A Parisien legend for those who know, Deyrolles Taxidermy studio has been located at Rue de Bac, near St Germain-des-Pres for almost two centuries.  On the brink of disappearance, the historic store was bought in 2001 by Prince Louis Albert de Broglie, founder of Le Prince Jardinier, a rather upscale gardening store. He is currently restoring Deyrolles to its former eccentric glory.

image above taken from: Sedulia * image below: Jen Mertens  

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Friday
Jan192007

John Gould

Born in the winter of 1804 at Lyme Regis on the English south coast, John Gould was one of 5 children and the only son of John and Elizabeth Gould. In 1818, Gould senior was appointed as foreman in the Royal Gardens of Windsor under John Townsend Aiton, the head gardener. At Windsor, Gould junior's fascination with ornithology flourished. When not assisting his father on the estate, Gould would spend his free time exploring the natural history of the countryside, collecting nests, eggs, and bird specimens.

In his later life, Gould commented at length on his early predilection for studying birds. In Birds of Great Britain (1862-1873), Gould recalls his father lifting him up by the arms to look into a Hedgesparrow's nest. "This first sight of its beautiful verditer-blue eggs has never been forgotten; from that moment I became enamoured with nature and her charming attributes; it was then I received an impulse which has not only never lost its influence, but which has gone on acquiring new force through a long life."

Gould began preparing taxidermied birds at a young age, and by 15 he was selling his specimens to earn pocket money. Athough he had apprenticed as a gardener, when Gould was twenty he moved to London to set up business as a taxidermists. His connections to Windsor served him well.  A receipt dated 1825 in the Windsor Castle archives records that Gould was entrusted with the task of "preserving a thick knee'd Bustard" for King George IV. King George was himself fascinated with taxidermy as a way of perpetuating the novelty of his menagerie of exotic animals. Gould also prepared "two Mouse Deer, two Cotamundys," and an ostrich in 1826, a crane and two lemurs in 1830, and the King's giraffe.  

In the October of 1829, the pet giraffe of King George IV died. She had been a goodwill diplomatic gift from Mehemet Ali, pasha of Egypt, who perhaps hoped to erase from British memory their military diaster of 1807 in Egypt and the pasha's parade of the severed heads of 450 British soldiers through the streets in Cairo.  

In 1827, at the age of 23, Gould entered a competition at the newly formed Zoological Society of London for the position of curator and preserver of creatures for the Society's museum.  He got the job.  As Gould's obituary notice in 1881: "Gould's artistic talent in bird-stuffing, which he had studiously cultivated for some years, rendered him facile princeps among the competitors, and obtained him appointment." 

John Gould was not among the taxidermists displaying works at the Great Exhbition in London in 1851.  He was, however, part of an exhibit showcasing a new coloring technique of his plate books he had just patented.

Gould had a commercial mind, and rather than merely exhibit his work alongside other taxidermists, he prepared his very own private exhibit of stuffed hummingbirds 3 miles away from Hyde Park in the Zoological Gardens of Regent Park. With the approval granted by the Zoological Society of London, Gould financed and constructed a wooden building some 60 feet long near the Zoological Lion house for the purpose of the exhibition.  It was free to visit the wonders and sights at the Crystal Palace.  Gould charged sixpence and is reputed to have made over 800 pounds.

The exhibition consisted of twenty-four elaborate display cases each approximately 2 feet 2 inches high and 1 foot 10 inches wide, arranged in rows and surmounted by canopies suspended from the ceiling to diffuse the light. The design of each case differed according to whether they had four, six, or eight panels of glass in their structure, and each rested on a wooden base, painted black and gold, which were all raised on a pedestal support. Each case contained between five and fifteen Hummingbirds, all strategically positioned to exhibit their chief characteristics and to emphasis the metallic iridescence of the male plume.

In total Gould displayed 180 species of hummingbirds and no less than 1,150 specimens.  The birds were arranged in cases by their genus. Article in the Daily News highlighting the exoticness of the birds.  Some species are only found at the highest elevations, others only in "the hottest and lowest provinces of Brazil and Demerara.  Most of the species are confined to a very limited geographical range. Orcotrochilus Chimborazo, for instance, lives only on the snow line of that mountain; O. Pinchincha son the Pichincha and Cotopazi; and Eriopus Derbyi, only in the extinct crater of a volcano in Peru." Gould introduced the unusual innovation for the period of foliage and nests into the cases to give an impression of natural habitat, an unusual innovation for that period. Seventy-five thousand people visited Gould's hummingbird display in 1851, compared with over six million people who visited the Crystal Palace between May 1st and October 15th.

 

Friday
Jan192007

Victorian Passions

Victorians were not content to view passively natural history in museums or menageries. Popular natural history was a physical, emotional, and sensual engagement with local nature in meadows and forests, at the seashore and in ponds. The distinct qualities and characteristics of encounters were not left to the individual’s sensibilities.  If it is difficult to exaggerate the mass appeal of natural history in the nineteenth century, it is equally impossible to overemphasise the influence of its popularisers. The impact of writers such as Rev. John George Wood and Philip Gosse, for example, is best evinced by the collecting crazes they provoked which quite literally swept across England’s landscape and gathered ferns, seaweeds, shells, and birds in Victorian parlours. Wood’s Common Objects of the Country (1858) sold 100,000 copies in one week, and his Common Objects of the Seashore (1857) only increased the mania for sea-shore collecting trips set in motion a few years earlier by Philip Gosse’s own introduction to seashore rambling - A Naturalist’s Rambles on the Devonshire Coast - published four years earlier in 1853.

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Always the satirist, Punch frequently poked fun at the collecting mania fevering the Victorian imagination. Image from August 21st, 1858.

The success of popular natural history writers arose in part from their ability to translate scientific knowledge into entertaining and instructive lessons and stories for the general reader. Natural history had not yet fully splintered into professional specialisations with a technical language beyond the reach of a general audience, and popular writers conveyed the sense that even amateur observers could not only learn from natural objects but offered the tantalising daydream that anyone could discover something new and useful to science. For example, in Henry Housman’s The Story of our Museum and What it taught us (1868), Housman describes his boyhood fascination with natural history in the hopes of encouraging young readers to learn about nature by establishing their own collection. A friend of his, Jack, an older boy and more expert taxidermist, showed Housman a newly-stuffed bird he had recently shot which appears to be a completely unknown species: a hedge-sparrow with a red tail. Together the boys consult various textual ornithological authorities with no luck and increasingly excitement on Housman’s part. Housman finally declares this red-tailed sparrow to be a new species to be named after Jack at which point Jack admits to the joke by knocking off the fake red tail. By scrutinising and noting particularities of form and colour in birds and animals, anyone - even young boys - could potentially participate in the production of knowledge.

Popular natural history, however, was far from a sterile science of facts. The enthusiasm for studying and collecting nature also derived from both its inherent aesthetic appeal and the close connection between natural science and moral edification.  Writers affirmed that the pursuit of nature was enlightening, delightful, and pious.  In accordance with natural theology, the design of nature was not random or meaningless, but quite the opposite: God's existence and benevolence could be deduced from nature’s wondrously harmonious complexity. Although the solidarity of natural theology was challenged and partly fragmented by Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species in 1859, popularisers maintained a revised form of natural theology and their readers remained enthralled by the traditional moral and aesthetic qualities of the natural world.

For those amateur naturalists who combined the meticulous methods of the field observer with sensitivity to the emotional resonance of the natural world, nature was alive with meaning and significance. Philip Gosse’s appropriately titled Romance of Natural History spoke poetically about his “communion” with the diversity and beauty of the natural world around him, suggesting that close observation could revealed the lives and dramas of starfish, beetles, and songbirds.

While fads in collecting came and when, taxidermy was a persistent presence in Victorian collections, and not only among the wealthier classes.  During the renowned American naturalist and artist John Audubon's trip to England from 1826-1829 he notes (as was to be expected) "a full and beautiful collection of the birds of England" at the entrance of the home of Mr. Rathbone.  Two days later while strolling through the Liverpool market "I saw here viands of all descriptions, fish, vegetbles, game, fruits - both indigenous and imported from all quarters of the globe, - birds sellers, with even little collections of stuffed specimens, cheeses of enormous size, butter in great abundance, immense crates of hen's-eggs packed in layers of oats imported from Ireland."  Taxidermy was everywhere from the conservatories of the great naturalists to the market stalls.

The paradox, of course, of natural theology as a motivating force in natural history was that the worship of nature led to its destruction. As natural history writers encouraged a passionate and empathetic communion with living nature, so too they encouraged collecting and stuffing it for display as a scientific object – that is, an object available for austere observations of size, form, and colour. From within an appreciation of poetics of taxidermy, the death and display of an animal was not viewed as a radical disruption in the appreciation of nature’s beauty and the frequently over sentimental desires for union, communion, and sameness.

Saturday
Nov042006

Francesco Calzolari's Cabinet

Francesco Calzolari was an apothecary in Verona and owned the most famous pharmacy in the city. As an apothecary, Calzolari's collection focussed on therapeutics, especially those believed to have miraculous properties. The cabinet is described by a contemporary physician, Antonio Passieno, as follows:

"a most abundant repository and true treasure of all remarkable medicinal things, in which I observed each one placed in wonderful order in most decorative and elegant compartments and cases. First, [Calzolari] sought exceptional herbs and then the rest from their own distant places and regions, sent to him as gifts from the greatest princes and rulers; here it is pleasing to see not a few whole plants and plant roots, rinds, hardened or liquid saps, gums, flowers, leaves, fruits, and rare seeds and to recognize them as authentic. Also many metals. I omit how many dried terrestrial and aquatic animals I was astounded to find that I had never seen before."

 

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Image: etching of Francesco Calzolari's collection published in an inventory of his cabinet from 1622. The image's inscription: "Viewers, insert your eyes. Contemplate the wonders of Calzolari's museum and pleasurably serve your mind."

The image of Calzolari's cabinet displays a selection of birds, fish, snakes, and animals including what appears to be a small hammerhead shark, several puffer fish, an oversized hedgehog, starfish, a tortoise head, a deformed mummified human head, a crocodile, bat, flying fish, and a spotted creature with a long tail which might perhaps be ocelot. Most of the creatures would have been dried.

Two catalogues were published detailing the cabinet's contents and the medicinal power and uses of his specimens. The first was published in 1584 by the Doctor Giovanni Battista Olivi (De reconditis et praecipuis collectaneis ab honestissimo et solertissimo Francisco Calceolari Veronensi in Musaeo adservatis) which was dedicated to their mutual friend, Girolamo Mercuriale, who taught at Padua. The catalogue was sparse (50 pages) and unillustrated as Olivi's primary goal was to make evident the vast extent of Calzolari's pharmaceutical items. The catalogue was more or less a medical treatise focussed on the practicle aspects of the museum by highlighting the museum as a medical repository and the links between the museum and the study of pharmacy. In other words, the museum was understood as an instrument for the examination and exploration of the natural world.

In 1622 Benedetto Ceruti and Andrea Chioco published the second catagloue, Museum Calceolarium, which appeared after Calceolari’s death when museum had been improved and transformed by his nephew Francesco Junior. The catalogue was almost 10 times as large, well illustrated, and tended to focus on the imaginative resonance of the natural world: symbolism, hidden truths, and imaginative flights of fancy. As Paula Findlen notes in Possessing Nature: Museums, Collectting and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italty: "the first catalogue had been a product of debates about the proper ingredients in medicines, a topic of great interest in the late sixteenth century. The second catalogue displayed all the hallmarks of the humanist erudition cultivated in the academies of late Renaissance and Baroque Italy. While Olivi explored the possible uses of nature, Ceruti and Chiocco explored the imaginative possibilities of natural phenomena."

Friday
Nov032006

Walter Potter (1835-1918)

potterstuffing.jpgWalter Potter was born on July 2nd, 1835 in the village of Bamber in Sussex, England.  After a brief schooling, he worked in his father inn, the White Lion, and pursued taxidermy as a hobby in a workshop above the stables.  Potter’s first subject was his pet canary. The result was, typically enough for a first attempt, poorly executed. Yet Potter was not dissuaded.  The fastidious process of skinning and stuffing suited him, and by the time of his death in 1918, Potter’s museum contained approximately 10,000 of his taxidermied birds and animals. 

Potter’s uncanny animal art was inspired by his sister, Jane, who showed him an illustrated book of nursery rhymes that included the well-known poem “The Dead and Burial of Cock Robin.”  Seven years later, Potter had finished his own rendition in 1861. The delighted reception of the tableau encourage Potter, and eventually in 1880 a museum was built across from the inn to house his expanding body of work. Early in 1914, Potter suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered, and on May 21st, 1918, Walter Potter died. He was buried in the actual graveyard on which he had modelled the "Dead and Burial of Cock Robin," the work which had launched his career.

content of the museum:

Besides his taxidermied pieces, Potter’s collection contained numerous other natural curiosities such as horns, skulls, teeth, mounted fish, and pickled specimens as well as various human artifacts from various countries including shoes, pottery, ivory bracelets, and a pair of Bali puppets in the form of a winged antelope and a dragon.

Potter’s collection of avian subjects was particularly impressive: merlins, peacocks, and peregrine falcons, blue tits, great tits, and lesser spotted woodpeckers, partridges, herons, a pink footed goose, canaries, albatrosses in flight, golden eagles, golden plovers, a scarlet ibis, a green woodpecker, Australian songbirds, magpies, and owls, an Alexandrine parakeet, a kookaburra, an albatross, and a penguin, to name just a few.  Potter also prepare all manner of beasts from weasels, polecats, and foxes to buffalo, tigers, and bears, as well as a platypus, the snout of a crocodile, and a rare taxidermied snow leopard in a seating position.  

lion.jpgOverall, the birds are skillfully mounted, but then birds have a limited range of expressions.  Potter was not always so successful with his animals. A baby giraffe looked rather perplexed with his predicament. The skin on a lion’s legs gives the appearance of sagging stockings.  Perhaps the worse figures are part of Potter’s maniacal utopian tableau called “The Happy Family” crowded with animals including cats, dogs, owls, frogs, falcons, a parrot, a monkey, a tortoise, and a piebald rat.  The animals’ face are rigid and gaunt, giving no suggestion of ever having been alive, or if they were, it was not this world that they inhabited.  Potter had more luck with a lamb born with two faces, which is posed quite prettily against a painted pastoral landscape.

lamb.jpgYes, indeed, a two-faced lamb, and hold your breath, the list continues with even more fantastic creatures.  In fact, Potter seemed to have a bit of a soft spot for freaks of nature, and his collection included a pickled siamese pig in a jar, several ducks with more legs, tails, and eyes than I would care to count, ditto for piglets and kittens, a multi-headed calf and rabbit, a two-faced puppy, and a lamb with seven legs and two bodies [see several of them +].   If the very existence of such creatures was not eerie enough, by the time of the auction they had developed that crusty decrepitude unique to stale taxidermy.  Born and taxidermied over a century ago, they linger, immortal and musty, in a realm of botched nature. 

Taxidermy is never for the squeamish or queasy, but the sheer quantity and quality of Potter’s stuffed creatures totters the whole Museum over the edge of reason. But there is still more. Potter’s fame actually rests on several large anthropomorphic works which depict squirrels, kittens, rats, and guinea pigs engaged in various human activities.  One tableau housed in a 62 x 73 x 24 inch glass-fronted cabinet contained seventeen taxidermied kittens with oversized glass eyes sitting around an elaborately laid table pouring tea and offering each other cake on tiny china plates while twenty other kittens enjoy themselves to the side, some playing croquet, some watching the game under parasols, and one riding a bicycle.  In another, eighteen red squirrels play cards, gamble, smoke, and drink in their Victorian clubhouse; in another 48 rabbits learn their lessons. wedding.jpg

The fame of Potter’s museum and, in fact, its inception centres on a single piece of taxidermy. In 1861, Potter exhibited “The Burial of Cock Robin” in the summerhouse of the White Lion’s garden.  The taxidermic tableau had required seven years of work to complete, 98 specimens British birds, and a miniature bull constructed from fur stretched over a wood form. True to the poem a rook with a white collar and a prayer book acts the parson; a dove is the chief mourner; and the bull tolls the bell of Bamber church painted in the background (making the churchyard the same as that in which Potter himself was buried).  The whole scene is housed in a large display case with a triangular roof and buttons mounted at the front, each of which when pushed light a verse of the appropriately macabre poem for Potter’s first full scale fantasy in taxidermy.  

an account of the museum:

The following account of Potter's museum is taken from "Animal Fantasy: The Taxidermist of Bramber" by Derek Hudson, published in Saturday Book, no. 13 in 1953.

"The first impression of the interior of the museum is a glorious Victorian jumble of odds-and-ends. Stuffed birds and animals abound, including a number of freaks. There is even an enormous Coypu rat, forty inches long, which was shot on a bank of the river Adur, near Bramber; as it is a native of South America, the supposition is that it disembarked from a boat carrying timber at Shoreham, and was exploring the neighbourhood. An alarming apparition! But I soon forgot the rat in the contemplation of some old musical instruments, a length of telephone cable, an albatross, a Siamese war saddle, butterflies, beetles, boomerangs, the front foot of an Indian elephant made into a waste-paper basket, and twelve engravings of the Wandering Jew by Gustave Dore. As the eye accustomed itself to the rich, inconsequential mixture, the major works of Walter Potter - about a dozen of them, in their show cases - gradually detached themselves from their surroundings. I became aware of a whole new world of fantasy, in which kitten played croquet with fastidious enjoyment, squirrels gravely drank wine and ate nuts, and rabbits frowned over their slates in the village school."

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death of Potter:

After Potter's death at the age of 83 in 1918, the Museum was left to his daughter, Minnie, and then to his grandson, also named Walter. Walter's widow sold the collection, which passed through numerous owners until it finally was bought 19 years ago by Mr. and Mrs. Watts who moved the collection to the Jamaica Inn (made famous by Daphne DuMaurier) on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. With the advice and help of Dr. Pat Morris, a leading authority on taxidermy, and Mike Grace, resident taxidermist, the Watts restored, maintained, and augmented the collection, which received about 30,000 visitors a year. Tragically, with the death of Grace, the retirement of Mr. and Mrs. Watts and the curator, and after unsuccessful attempts to sell the museum in one piece, the collection was finally spilt and sold at Bonhams.

 

dispersal of the collection:

On Tuesday, September 23rd, 2003 at 10:30 in the morning, the contents of Walter Potter’s Museum of Curiosities was split apart and began being sold off item by item by Bonhams Auction at the Jamaica Inn in Cornwall, England.

Ordered into 691 lots, the parade of Potter’s taxidermied ark took two days to pass piece by piece by the auction block and in total sold for an astounding £529,900 – more than twice the predicted sum. The highest selling item was Potter’s most famous work, “The Death and Burial of Cock Robin,” depicting the nursery rhyme by the same name. Potter’s rendition contained ninety-eight specimens of British birds and a miniature bull constructed from fur stretched over wood, which resembles nothing so much as a malformed ginger cat.

"The Death and Burial of Cock Robin." High estimate: $10,000; Sold: $33,100
“The Kittens’ Wedding.” High estimate: $10,000; Sold: $35,000
"The Kittens' Tea and Croquet Party." High estimate: $5,000 Sold; $26,450
“The Upper Ten” or “Squirrel’s Club. High estimate: $5,000; Sold $9,100.
“The Death.” (two squirrels dueling with swords). High estimate: $600; Sold: $2,000.
Monkey riding a Goat. High estimate: $1,500; Sold: $11,600
Two-headed lamb. High estimate: $1,200; Sold: $4,300
Six-legged piglet. High estimate: $500; Sold: $1,250
Stuffed Bear (as seen in Steptoe and Son). High estimate $2,500; Sold $10,760.

 

online information on Potter:

about the sale:

  • Bonhams Auction House
    Mr Potter’s Museum of Curiosities: Squirrels playing cards, kittens taking tea and bunnies learning their ABC are just part of the extraordinary and intriguing contents of one of Britain’s oldest private museums which will be offered at auction on 23 and 24 September
  • BBC NEWS
    Animal attraction for sale
    Date: November 26th, 2002
  • Museums, Libraries, & Archives
    Walter Potter’s tableaux take centre stage as museum makes more than £½ million
    Date: October 7th, 2003
  • Damien Hirst's letter to the Guardian
    Date: September 23rd, 2003

 

general information about Potter: