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Page last updated at 08:25 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 09:25 UK
Victorian taxidermy collection auctioned
Stuffed lion

A collection of Victorian taxidermy from a closed museum has been auctioned in Dorchester, totalling £280,000.

Over 200 pieces from the Brading Experience, on the Isle of Wight, were being sold after it closed in January following a fall in visitor numbers.

The collection includes stuffed animals and items from fairgrounds, and organisers say interest has been huge.

Matthew Denney, an auctioneer from Dukes in Dorchester, said: "I think it's an extraordinary collection."

'A museum of oddities'

The collection also includes waxwork figures - including one of Queen Victoria, who holidayed on the island.

Matthew said: "It was a museum of oddities from around the world.

Stuffed kangaroo
Interest in the auctions has been 'incredible', say the auctioneers.

"There was a yeti, a mermaid - and things don't come much more odd than that!"

The collection also includes some fictional creatures, such as a kitten with wings, an abominable snowman, and a hare with antlers.

All items originate from the Victorian era and the collection has been added to since that period.

Fashionable

At that time, taxidermy - the process of stuffing dead animals and placing them in 'life like' poses - was very fashionable.

Matthew said: "It was much more normal then to have a 'stuff it, kill it, display it' attitude towards animals.

"The Victorians had a very different relationship with wildlife [than the one we have today].

"There are still some collectors out there who want to buy this sort of thing, and it's a way of appreciating the natural world and the lions and zebras are very beautiful, beautiful creatures.

"You don't normally get the chance to see these items up close. The level of interest has been huge."

Items from the collection raised a total of £280,000.




SEE ALSO
Stuffed animals sell for 280,000
14 Apr 10 |  Dorset
In pictures: Victorian taxidermy
12 Apr 10 |  History
Inside Dorset's County Museum
18 Sep 09 |  People & Places

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