Walter Potter (1835-1918) was a country taxidermist of no great expertise, but he and the little museum that he built up, became nationally and internationally famous as an icon of Victorian whimsy. He created a fantasy world in taxidermy, where rabbits went to school, kittens played croquet and squirrels drank port in their smart club. His animal tableaux included a recreation of the Death and Burial of Cock Robin, probably the single most famous single item of Victorian taxidermy. His tiny museum in Bramber, Sussex, was crammed full of multi-legged kittens, two-headed lambs and a bewildering assortment of general curios. The museum was moved to other sites, ending up at Jamaica Inn in Cornwall, where it was finally sold and dispersed in 2003. During more than 140 years, Potter's collection of curiosities was visited by over two million people and featured on television and in countless newspaper articles. This book tells what little is known about the man himself and documents the history of his museum and its extraordinary contents. It also provides a permanent record of the collection, a unique example of nineteenth century social and natural history, the like of which we will not see again.
The book is A4 size, colour throughout, and comprises 104 pages of extraordinary material illustrating Potter's work and collection. A hardback version is available for libraries, museums and specialist collectors. This includes a further 8 pages listing newspaper and magazine references to Potter's museum, details of over 150 different postcards issued at various times, and a ‘gallery’ of additional images of Potter's work.