Victorian equivalent of Internet cat videos: Walter Potter's taxidermy

Victorian equivalent of Internet cat videos: Walter Potter's taxidermy

 

Nowadays, a teenager with a hobby of stuffing dead animals is a budding psychopath. But in the Victorian era, taxidermy was all the rage. At age 15, Walter Potter, born 1835, began creating anthropomorphic tableaux of guinea pigs playing croquet, squirrels smoking cigars, and kittens having tea parties.

A new book, Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy, edited by Joanna Ebenstein and Dr. Pat Morris, makes it all a kind of memento mori, but with the unsettling power to also function as a cute distraction--think of it as the Victorian equivalent of Internet cat videos.

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