HISTORY OF TAXIDERMY
with Dr. Pat Morris
Thursday 4th June 2015
Doors open at 6:30 pm, Talk commences at 7:00 pm
Art, science, or bad taste? In spite of varying opinions about taxidermy, it is a neglected yet important part of the preservation of natural history especially in the UK. In the 17th century, stuffed animals first featured in "Cabinets of Curiosities" an attraction which brought souvenirs of travels to distant and exotic places to a wider audience. Later these collections grew into major private and public museums and in the Victorian age, stuffing evolved into a popular commercial activity with the work of Rowland Ward, Edward Gerrard and Walter Potter.
In his talk, Dr Pat Morris reviews the history of stuffed animals from the preservation techniques used in Ancient Egypt to the 17th century curiosity cabinets of Europe via the anthropomorphic dioramas of Walter Potter and the resurgence of popularity of taxidermy today.
Dr Pat Morris
Dr. Pat Morris is a biologist, and formerly a senior lecturer in zoology at Royal Holloway, University of London, specializing in mammal ecology, particularly hedgehogs and dormice. He is the author of twenty books about natural history and taxidermy and has published more than 150 scientific papers and magazine articles on natural history topics. He first visited Walter Potter’s museum in Bramber in 1955 and thirty years later became a technical adviser to its owners. With their help, he gained an unrivaled knowledge of Potter’s work, and first published as Walter Potter and His Museum of Curious Taxidermy in 2008, a record of a unique collection now dispersed by its sale in 2003.
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