Stuff

30 Mar

In the realm of Bonkers, the art of Victorian Taxidermy is King. I had the serene pleasure of stumbling into Warwick Museum this weekend whilst attending my niece’s wedding. As I stepped inside the old museum in the market square I was greeted by a glass case containing two stuffed Choughs, examining a beetle with very beady eye.

Just as the Victorians were fascinated by the natural world and wanted literally to own bits of it, preserved for posterity in their parlours, so we too collect trinkets. Today’s stuff is kept as digital files and posted on Facebook. It’s the same schtick: “Hey look! I found this amazing thing, shot it (with a gun/Victorians, iPhone/us) and ‘stuffed’ it – displayed it in an amusing pose for you to look at and admire.

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Peter Spicer, master taxidermist of Leamington Spa, stuffed this bear and rendered him in the anthropomorphic pose of a Roman Emperor. “Friends, Romans, Countrymen – lend me your bears”. Appropriate for Shakespeare’s county I feel and a moth eaten literal rendering of the County’s badge. Motto ‘Non sanz droict’  – literally – ‘Not without right’. What right had anyone to shoot and stuff this bruin, let alone chain him to a post and set the dogs on him?

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This distinctly anorexic Badger begs the topical question, “TB or not TB?”

And the fox with ear mange chasing the partridge seems a reluctant Rotten Reynard.

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My Bipolar mind is always stuffed with crazy unconnected images, sounds and ideas – such is the nature of manic depression. Natural History Museums are balm to this unquiet mind, because to see the physical expression of cultural obsession displayed with such rigour is somehow deeply soothing to me. One person’s Bonkers, is another person’s serene tranquility. Thank you Peter Spicer for this daft treasury, if only I could skin, stuff and pose the madness in my head. The quietness of curation, bliss.

A final absurdity in this little chocolate box of a museum was the magnificent skeleton of an extinct Irish Elk. A cracking display mounted so that it faces out of an obscure museum side window. Visitors to the gallery are greeted by an extinct deer’s arse and not the seven foot span antlers which so fascinated Charles Darwin.

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Darwin was able to come up with a reason for growing these magnificent antlers and shedding them annually – sexual display and mate acquisition. There is no evolutionary reason for manic depression that I can deduce – only the exhaust fumes of an unquiet mind.

Too much stuffing? Give me taxidermy, give me curation, give me peace of mind.

 

6 Responses to “Stuff”

  1. Wes Hedge March 30, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    Your visit sounds really good. I felt similarly when visiting the Pit Rivers in Oxford. We have much to thank the Victorians for. 😉

  2. sierrajoyy March 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    So neat! I’ve never been to a place like this, but I would love to visit!

    Check out my post on living fearlessly and let me know what you think 🙂
    http://sierraeatscleanlivesclean.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/30-day-challenge-a-paradigm-shift-towards-fearlessness/

    • woodenhenk March 30, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

      Loved it actually ! Thank you for the link

  3. google.com June 19, 2014 at 3:30 am #

    Hurrah, that’s what I was searching for, what a stuff! existing here at this website, thanks admin of this web site.

  4. chocolate ganache September 13, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    I’m no longer positive where you’re getting your information,
    but good topic. I needs to spend a while studying much more or figuring out more.
    Thanks for great info I was looking for this info for my mission.

    • woodenhenk September 13, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

      It is mostly from personal experience – and an eye for the absurd H

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