by Inigo del Castillo in New Art on Thursday 1 May 2014

Stuffed kittens playing croquet and enjoying tea time, little bunny rabbits sitting down in a classroom, squirrels reading the morning paper and smoking tobacco. Morbidly beautiful, if I must say. These are the creations of British taxidermist, Walter Potter, who became famous for his specialty in anthropomorphic tableaux back in the Victorian period.

Using adorable animals as his subjects, Potter set out recreating Victorian daily life scenes by giving them human characteristics, such as clothing, posture, and standing on two hind legs. The bizarre scenes of cute animals living in a Victorian-style universe earned him both the awe and ire of many during his time.

His collection of stuffed figures – which included works of other taxidermists – eventually amassed to more than 10,000 pieces. Many of these works, including a two-headed kitten, was placed in a small museum he owned in Bramber, Sussex. These artworks are now part of a new book, entitled ‘Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxonomy’, by taxidermy historian Dr. Pat Morris and New York-based artist and curator Joanna Ebenstein. Through this book, they hope to preserve the morbid but whimsical art of Walter Potter.

Via Beautiful Decay