Thursday, April 15, 2010

"A History of Taxidermy: Art, Science and Bad Taste," An Illustrated Presentation By Dr. Pat Morris, Congress for Curious People, Coney Island Museum

Tonight is night four of the Congress for Curious People! To celebrate, come to the Coney Island Museum at 7:00 PM to see Pat Morris--British biologist, collector, and self-publisher of several books on taxidermy--as he parses the world of taxidermy and asks, in a heavily illustrated lecture "is taxidermy art, science, or bad taste?"

Pat Morris is a specialist on taxidermy of all sorts, and has literally written the book on Walter Potter, my favorite Victorian taxidermist, who's incredible tableaux "The Kitten Tea Party" and "The Death of Cock Robin (top and third down, respectively) you see above. Tonight his lecture will focus on the work and curiosity collection of Mr. Potter; he will also be selling (and signing, if you wish!) his difficult-to-come-by and amazing heavily-illustrated books about Potter's work, life, and curiosity collection. Also, there will be half-price drinks at the bar till 7!

Do you need further enticing to get you down to Coney Island tonight?

Full details follow; hope to see you there!
A History of Taxidermy: Art, Science and Bad Taste
An Illustrated Presentation By Dr. Pat Morris, Royal Holloway, University of London
Date: Thursday, April 15th
Time: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: The Coney Island Museum
Should taxidermy be viewed as art, science, or bad taste? And why is it so interesting? Dr. Pat Morris’ illustrated lecture “A History of Taxidermy: Art, Science and Bad Taste” will explore these topics and more. His talk will range over the history of stuffed animals, considering how a small-time taxidermist business operated in the 19th century and exploring the many diverse and amusing uses of taxidermy and the taxidermist’s products ranging from major museum exhibits to stuffed pets, hunting trophies, animal furniture, kitten weddings (see above, Walter Potter, circa 1890s), frogs eating spaghetti and squirrels playing cards. He will discuss in detail the work of anthropomorphic taxidermist Walter Potter and his eponymous “Museum of Curiosities,” as detailed in his own lavishly illustrated book on that topic, which will be available for sale at the lecture.

Dr. Pat Morris is a retired staff member of Royal Holloway College (University of London), where he taught biology undergraduates and supervised research on mammal ecology. In that capacity he has published many books and scientific papers and featured regularly in radio and TV broadcasts. The history of taxidermy has been a lifelong hobby interest and he has published academic papers and several books on the subject. With his wife Mary he has travelled widely, including most of Europe and the USA, seeking interesting taxidermy specimens and stories. They live in England where their house is home to the largest collection and archive of historical taxidermy in Britain.
To find out more about this event and the larger Congress of Curious Peoples--including nightly performances and the epic opening night party--click here. For more about the Congress for Curious People, click here. Click on image or click here to download a hi-res copy of the above broadside. For information about the Coney Island Museum--including address and directions--click here.

1 comment:

Nicolas said...

Wow, where is the kitten tea party picture from ?