Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy

The Death and Burial of Cock Robin by Walter Potter
The Death and Burial of Cock Robin by Walter Potter

When Victorian-era English taxidermist Walter Potter’s tiny museum of his own personal anthropomorphic creations was auctioned off in 2003 (read about it in Still Life by Melissa Milgrom) his whimsical collection was dispersed across the globe despite a $1 million bid from artist Damien Hirst to keep the collection together.

Many key pieces of Potter’s work were exhibited by collector Sir Peter Blake in 2010 at London’s Museum of Everything, drawing 30,000 visitors in six weeks.

Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy showcases photos of some of Potter’s best-loved work all in one place, and might be the only way they will ever be seen together again.

The book will also be accompanied by a documentary called “Where Kittens Wed and Birds Lament” directed by Ronni Thomas:

There was also a 1965 film about Potter’s work called Crazy Taxidermy Museum – Stuffed Animals in Costumes.

Traveling Museum Box by Ron Pippin

Traveling Museum Box by Ron Pippin

Ron Pippin has been making amazing and bizarre things for a very long time that fall somewhere between natural history museum diorama and steampunk art.

This Traveling Museum Box is one of his creations from 1994.

Check out his website for more, including recent work and current projects:

Malplaquet House cabinet of curiosities in London

London’s Malplaquet House is an enormous Cabinet of Curiosities

The Malplaquet House is filled floor-to-ceiling with art, religious artifacts, and natural history specimens.

Underground bunker home in Las Vegas

Cold War Home Built 26 Feet Underground

When wealthy recluse Jerry B. Henderson built his underground Cold War bunker in 1978, he decided to ride out the end of the world in style.

Girl to Gorilla Sideshow Act

Girl to gorilla sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson

1940s Girl to Gorilla sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson

The girl-to-gorilla trick is an old sideshow act based on the principles of the vintage Blue Room or Pepper’s Ghost illusions. For decades it mystified eager crowds in dimly lit tents as one of the top-grossing grind shows on the midway.

The audience would gather in front of a large cage. Inside was a beautiful girl dressed like a wild jungle lady, usually just recently captured in some remote and primitive region of the world.

Is she the result of some freakish evolutionary blunder?

Was she the subject of bizarre and cruel experimentation?

The talker begins to lull the ape girl into a trance and beckon her through her metamorphosis. Before the crowd’s very eyes she would begin to grow hair and fangs, slowly transforming into a large, raging beast.

When the transformation was complete, an angry gorilla stood growling inside the cage. Then it would burst through the iron bars and send the horrified crowds screaming from the tent.