Eeee! More Walter Potter goodies!
Via Morbid Anatomy/BoingBoing/Jessica Joslin, here’s the British Pathe‘s splendid ’65 tour of the now sadly defunct Walter Potter Museum in Bramber, UK, which, until recently, housed all of the famed anthropomorphizing taxidermist’s weird and whimsical work.
If you have a moment to explore, the British Pathe account on YouTube is entirely rife with ridiculous, charming, and occasionally sobering snippets of Ye Olde Infotainment. Pekingnese puppies dressed up as a wedding party; Mick the Mongrel climbing a ladder; “NO MORE BABIES“; flailing zombie-like Girl Water Diviner; “Buried Alive” Stunt Goes Badly, and many more!
It’s hard to imagine who the intended audience was for the “Stuffed” Girl’s Heads* from Honor House Products Corp. Certainly, there was and, no doubt, still is a well entrenched consumer base comprised of misogynists who would perhaps guffaw at the site of such an item or nod sagely, in possession of the belief that women are, indeed, nothing more than trophies. Despite this unfortunate reality, I have a hard time believing that anyone would actually buy something like this. No, this strikes me as the perfect gift for the laziest of movie serial killers; the star of some Grunge-era slasher film in which the villain is too stoned and jaded to actually get up off the couch in his parents’s basement to slay a cheerleader.
Regardless, for the low price of $3.35 you get the complete array of hair colors, those being blond, brunette, and redhead, affixed to a genuine mahogany base (notice no quotation marks there, so you know that shit is real.) The downer here, of course, is that the head is only 3/4 scale which may not completely sate your blood lust unless you have a Beetlejuice inspired fetish to go along with the murderous psychopathy. It also has the unfortunate side effect of putting a damper on the “realism” touted so often in the copy. That said, as the article suggests, it would no doubt be a conversation starter, though that conversation may take the form of a hushed exchange with authorities over the phone while the owner is in the other room.
Via Vintage Ads
*Also, who decided on the placement of those quotation marks. I mean, “Stuffed”? Shouldn’t they be around “Girl’s Head”? Shouldn’t the implication be that the head in question is not a real goddamn head and not that it isn’t actually stuffed? Maybe I’m over-thinking this.
“858″ by Jessica Joslin
Jessica Joslin’s Hybrids show is a circus of oddities, a mixed-media menagerie of unexpected creatures. A whimsical cat in a red leather harness harness pulls a polycephalic partner on a wooden cart. An exquisite two headed tropical bird with lush brass plumage preens on it’s perch and a troupe of monkey-cat hybrids engage in mysterious shenanigans. Hybrids is a menagerie of distinctive creations, its frolicsome fauna beckon you to come see the show!
The reception’s being held on Friday, Nov 5th, from 8-11pm. Book signing to precede from 7-8pm. LA conclave, be sure to go and cuddle Jessica and blow some air kisses her critters’ way! (Especially Clio & Loci. Yours truly met ‘em in Arizona earlier this year, and fell hopelessly in lurrrrve.)
“Helios” by Jessica Joslin (front and side views).
A preface for the unfamiliar, potentially aghast reader: the English Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter was, according to all accounts, a gentle and kindhearted man. (Read more about him here, and here.) All the animals Potter used in his work were said to have died of natural causes. Apparently, he never harmed any creature presented in his displays. Rather, he arranged to take carcasses off the hands of a local farm and veterinarian. Additionally, as his reputation grew, the community he lived in began to donate expired critters.
Bride from “Kitten’s Wedding”
Today, many perceive his elaborate anthropomorphic dioramas –featuring various dead animals: kittens, puppies, rabbits, ducks, squirrels, frogs, etc, imitating domestic human life– as grotesque, but bear in mind that at the time they were made, and for many decades following, the creatures in Potter’s vast collection were well-admired as an elegant source of “Victorian whimsy”.
Long after Potter’s death, crowds still came to view his thousands of creatures at the Potter Museum in Bramber, Sussex, England. (Then, later, at Cornwall’s Jamaica Inn.) However, sensibilities change. By the end of the 20th century, fewer and fewer devotees were making the pilgrimage to see Potter’s body of, well, bodies. The vast collection was finally dismantled and sold off in bits and pieces in 2003, to a wide array of buyers, for roughly £500,000.
“Rabbit and Hen”
“It caused outrage when John and Wendy Watts split up and sold the historic dioramas. [...] Artist Damien Hirst, a huge fan of Walter Potter’s work, said he would have paid £1 million to keep the collection together.” Now, eight years later, many of the pieces have been reassembled in an exhibition at the Museum of Everything in Primrose Hill, London. Co-curators James Brett and Peter Blake did their best to retrieve as many of the dioramas back on loan as they could. Opening today, the gallery showing includes several of Potter’s most famous pieces: “The Death of Cock Robin,” The House that Jack Built”, and “Happy Families”.
“A Friend In Need”
Unsqueamish Coilhouse readers in the UK/Europe, don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Potter’s fascinating work in person! (It runs through December.) Please be sure to report back. Several more images after the jump.
Craig Welch’s short, animated, silent film from 1996 is the story of a strange, reclusive man obsessed with the mechanics of winged flight who one night receives a mysterious visitor in his dark and empty abode. Always in Welch’s animation benefits from a distinct, Edward Gorey inspired look which complements the strange and macabre subject matter quite well. Welch’s protagonist, as well as being enamored of wings, is also someone who has created around him a sphere of perfect and utter control. There is no aspect of his existence that has not been meticulously planned, going so far as to force this exacting mastery over other living creatures that make their way into his world. Whether or not his mysterious guest meant him any ill will is left unspoken but regardless she proves to be his undoing. Indeed it may be that she is more cipher than anything — a metaphor for that which he hopes to attain through all his miniature, bio-mechanical tinkering. However you interpret it, it remains a short journey well worth taking.
For many there is nothing like the taste of an ice cold beer on a hot summer day. For others, there is nothing like the taste of a beer brewed by gnomes on some remote mountain in the Himalayas at a rate of twenty bottles a year. You have met these people, no doubt, and they have explained to you in great depth just why you have never truly tasted an ale until you have quaffed one which has had its ingredients massaged by the tiny, nimble hands of Himalayan gnomes.
For those people Scottish brewery BrewDog has created The End of History. At 55% alcohol by volume it is currently the world’s strongest beer. BrewDog is making 11 bottles of the stuff which will come in two editions: Stoat and Squirrel, priced at $763.00 and $1068.00 respectively, making them also the most expensive beer at the moment. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, the beer comes in bottles — bottles that have been inserted into nattily dressed stuffed stoats and gray squirrels like furry, taxidermy beer-cozies which, at that price, is really the least BrewDog could do for it’s customers. Much higher and I would expect something endangered impaled on my drink or, perhaps, a rhino’s horn bottle opener. Further details, instructions for proper consumption can be found at BrewDog’s website.
via Asylum : Thanks, chesh!
At the risk of offending the Soviets in the audience I present this gentleman to you with limited commentary; instead allowing his melodious singing voice and terrifying rictus to speak for themselves.
And, my, they speak volumes.
I’ve been walking through this forest for some time now. I came here after I left work. I shut my oyster off, placed my paperwork in my squid and got on the elevator. It brought me down to the forest, and now I’m walking home. It seems like it’s taking a lot longer than usual. I begin to worry that it may be taking too long. If I’m not home in time for dinner, the terrorists will kill my girlfriend. This cannot happen. I begin to run, but it’s no use. I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. I frantically look around, trying to regain my bearings. To my left, I hear a noise. Whipping around, I notice that the brush is rustling. Suddenly, a nyala with a man’s face emerges from the brush. We stand there for a moment, staring at each other. Or maybe we stare at each other for a long time, I’m not sure. I am sure, though, that we stare at each other. Then the man-nyala slowly opens its mouth and in a deep, lugubrious voice says, “The mother’s milk is poisoned by the quiche.” Then it begins to scream. And then I wake up.