Happy Birthday, Walter Potter!

Walter Potter (2 July 1835 – 21 May 1918) was a Victorian taxidermist most famous for his eccentric anthropomorphic taxidermy. He received fame and accolades for such lovely scenes as “The Kittens’ Wedding” (his final creation in 1890), and his Rabbit School. Potter first began exploring the recreation of nursery rhymes using preserved and costumed animals in 1854 at the age of 19, and completed his most famous work, “The Death and Burial of Cock Robin,” which included 96 species of British birds. 

With encouragement and support from his local community, Potter was able to earn a living and support his family at an Inn in Bramber, a small town in West Sussex. Locals commissioned Walter to preserve their pets and he relied on donations of dead animals to populate his fanciful scenes. The clothes were created by his neighbors and his daughter Minnie. 

Many of Potter’s works remained on display at the Bramber Inn, which was turned into a Museum during his life in order to house more than 10,000 specimens. The original Museum eventually closed in the 1970s and moved to Cornwall in 1984, before being sold and disbanded in 2003. 

Sources: 
Telegraph UK
Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy by Dr. Pat Morris
Walter Potter Taxidermy