Stuffed & Displayed: The Curious Art of Victorian Taxidermy
The desire to preserve dead animals as they appeared in life can be traced all the way back to the Egyptian civilization, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the practice reached a peak of popularity in Britain and abroad.
There were more than a dozen taxidermists showing at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, the year when 75,000 visitors paid to see John Gould’s exhibition of stuffed hummingbirds at Regent’s Park Zoo. By the late Victorian era virtually every large village in the UK had a resident ‘professional’ taxidermist and almost every home a stuffed bird or mammal of some description.
In this illustrated lecture Ian Cox discusses 19th-century taxidermy in its various guises ranging from “specimen” examples of various species highlighting an interest in the natural workd, to trophy pieces displayed for status and decorative effect. Also included will be the bizarre fashion for displaying animals “en tableau” showing them engaged in a variety of human-like activities.