Walter Potter’s Whimisical Taxidermy
Walter Potter (1835 -1918), the son of the proprietors of the Bramber, Sussex pub, the White Lion, became a taxidermist at the
tenderage. His first attempt at taxidermy was preserving the body of his own pet canary. At the age of 19, after perusing an illustrated book of children’s rhymes his sister Jane showed him, he created the diorama “The Death and Burial of Cock Robin”. (picutred above) He used 98 different species of British bird for his display. It was a huge success. For some reason the Victorian ladies and Gentleman enjoyed seeing the animals he preserved displayed in anthropomorphic exhibitions. If you ask me it is a bit creepy but his Mr. Potter’s Museum of Curiosities was so popular that the local railway had to build extensions to the platform. The museum was finally shutdown and the collections dispersed or sold off in 2004. The displays were over a hundred years old when they were sold. I am unsure where one can see them anymore. Many of the displays were bought by private buyers. I myself would like to see them. Although Macabe, I think they may inspire my imagination a bit. We all do love the books the Wind in the willows, and, of course, Peter Rabbit. We njoyed seeing animals behave as humans in cartoons and disney movies. I can see the taxidermy of Walter Potter being creative and, perhaps, rousing one’s imagination.