The Dr. Seuss Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy
Everyone knows the work of Dr. Seuss, great American poet, illustrator, children’s book author…and taxidermist of things that don’t exist.
Theodor Geisel with the Turtle-Necked Sea-Turtle and the Goo-Goo-Eyed Tasmanian Wolghast
The pioneers of modern taxidermy perfected their art for the purpose of putting wild and exotic species from remote corners of the world on display for the general public, to educate and promote conservation. When Dr. Seuss did it, ‘the world’s most eminent authority on unheard-of animals,’ as Look magazine called him in 1938, was mounting a menagerie of whimsical creatures from his imagination.
Theodor Seuss Geisel began creating quirky taxidermy mounts of animals that would later fill the pages of his beloved children’s books in 1934. His father, who worked at the Springfield, Massachsetts zoo, where Geisel spent much of his childhood drawing, would gather horns, bills, and antlers of animals that died naturally and send them to his son in New York. Over the next several years Geisel used these parts to create 17 undeniably Seussian sculptures resembling the aftermath of a Whoville hunting party.
The collection, which includes rare specimens of the Kangaroo Bird, Flaming Herring, Andulovian Grackler, and Semi-Normal Green-Lidded Fawn, to name a few, was never intended for public sale. They were used now and then for promotional purposes, but Jeff Schuffman, an expert from The Art of Dr. Seuss project, told CBC Radio he believes Seuss created the Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy for his own enjoyment.
Dr. Seuss with his taxidermy mounts
The Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy is currently on display as part of the If I Ran The Zoo exhibit at Toronto’s Liss Gallery until January 2nd.
See the entire collection at The Art of Dr. Seuss.