Goodness gracious me! Can't they just have Spot stuffed and stick him in the corner, like everyone else? There is an entire industry around pet remains, you know. An organisation called "Pets at Peace" will cremate your pet and return it in an urn. There's a lot of very understanding literature on the counter at the vet clinic where my sister works, but on the fridge inside there's a magnet (for another company) with the brutal legend "Veterinary waste disposal specialists". I think she told me that most people don't collect their animal's body anyway.Perhaps I'm of a naturally suspicious nature, but, given the presence of fur coats on the website, I would wonder if this isn't a front for something very nasty indeed.
Ah, well, better to make fur coats out of pampered beasties who die at ripe old ages under anaesthesia than to make 'em out of the victims of industrial scale slaugherhouses.This heirloom pet yarn palaver appeals dangerously to my self-defeating thrift instinct. Many's the time I've wanted to harvest Wilbur's spare hair. There are masses of it dropping from his body every day. Give him a good scratch, or just touch his haunches, and he exfoliates whole tufts. So, rather than complaining about the dog hair on the rug, we should make the dog hair into a rug. (With the dog's full and informed consent, of course.)Here's to finding a cheap spinning wheel on e-bay.
A bit of Victorianist nerdery for you: the anthropomorphic taxidermy of Hermann Ploucquet, as seen at the Great Exhibition of 1851 (click on his name and it will come up in a separate window, in glorious and somewhat disturbing abundance).I'm almost permanently covered in animal hair, so I understand perfectly your desire for a Wilburnian rug.
Gosh, I love Hermann Ploucquet's work.And do you know, on the second floor of the Immigrants Museum on Flinders Street, you can find some similar specimens? I think it's part of a permanent exhibition discussing how various non-native animals came to Australia. So you have the ship-rats (wearing sun-glasses, striped bathing suits, carrying beach-balls, etc, and lounging about on hammocks on a ships deck). There's similar features for birds, larger mammals, etc. Possibly even insects. I. Loved. It!
Actually, I think I was mistaking him for Walter Potter, but it's all good. Rumour has it there's a curiosity store in Melbourne that has all manner of goods like that...
Yes, I knew you at least would approve, Tim. For me, however, it is both fascinating and the stuff of my nightmares. I must have a look at the Immigration Museum next time I'm in Melbourne. The GE catalogue is full of stuff like that- as well as philosophical umbrellas, knives with 1851 blades, etc. The sculpture is another particular treat (I'm a terrible, terrible nerd).
Hither. Which, coincidentally, is what I may do on the Saturday, hithering myself to 439 Lonsdale Street...
I should clarify that there is certainly something grotesque about this type of taxidermy for light-hearted Beatrix Potter style art, but at the same time I can't help but admire the craft that goes into it. It certainly bespeaks the paradoxical nature of the Victorian era*, calling to mind a note in a Tim Flannery book I have in my collection about how the great Victorian collectors of speciments, in their zeal for rareities, would often cause drive those species to extinction. *Very posh phrase, even if I do say so myself.
I'd invite myself along for the Wunderkammer ride, but I got a date with a free second-hand telly in Fairfield (and with a psychoanalyst who's coming round for morning tea, and with my illustrious parents who are driving to Melbourne for the weekend).Karen, speaking of the Great Exhibition, my mother and I were chatting about her clock the other day, and for the first time ever, she mentioned that great, great grandancestor bought it at the Crystal Palace. Suddenly, 1851 and I were friends in a way we never had been before.Anyone noticed that human bodies exhibition that's doing the rounds? Chemically reserved human bodies. Makes a taxidermed bunny look pretty tame.
What a fabulous place, Tim! That's something else to do when I'm next in Melbourne. There was an absolutely wonderful exhibition at the ACMI when I was last there about optical devices, entertainments and illusions. I'm fascinated by that sort of thing, so I spent a very long time looking at it all, slightly to my companion's displeasure.I do agree about the taxidermy- there's a certain craft in it and, at the same time, it's got this very sinister character to it (especially the one of the specimens fighting- is it a fox and a rabbit? Can't remember). "The paradoxical nature of the Victorian era" is indeed a very posh phrase.Alexis, how wonderful! What's the clock like? And yes, I have seen stuff about that exhibition- I think they call it "plasticization". I had actually seen some sort of documentary or news item about it before, when it was in the States I think, and there was a suggestion that the bodies had been obtained in less than ethical ways. I don't think there's been any mention of that here though.
It's clocky. Bronze, with all the coggery visible, standing on a marble slab and sitting under a glass case.
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