Friday, 16 May 2014

'Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens': World Premiere Screening and Q and A with Morbid Anatomy Museum Filmmaker in Residence Ronni Thomas

Date: Friday, June 6
Time: 8:00 PM
Tickets: $10 here
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)

Tonight, please join us to celebrate Morbid Anatomy’s 7th birthday with the world premiere of the Morbid Anatomy Museum‘s first foray into film with a special screening of filmmaker in residence Ronni Thomas’ “Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens.” This surprisingly tender and heartfelt film features never before seen footage of the great tableaux of eccentric Victorian anthropomorphic taxidermist Walter Potter and the collectors around the world who treasure them. You will meet in the course of this film tiny kittens in gowns attending a wedding or having a tea party; toads playing on swings; monkeys riding goats; the funeral of a robin; a two-faced kitten; and much, much more.
Thomas will also screen assorted other short films and answer your questions about the making of the film.
Ronni Thomas is a director/editor and Filmmaker in Residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York he considers himself a ‘working class filmmaker,’ seeing equal value in the sublime and the ordinary. Though his films typically deal with dark, eccentric and bizarre subject matters, he approaches each topic from a human and often light-hearted angle. In 2011, he and Morbid Anatomy founder, Joanna Ebenstein, created The Midnight Archive; a web documentary series that would go on to critical acclaim and receive several awards including the 2013 Silver Telly for best web documentary series. In addition to making films, he is also guest lecturer and programmer for the Raindance Film Festival in London. He has also written for The Morbid Anatomy Anthology, United Academics, Huffington Post, The Journal of Social Sciences and Raindance Film Magazine. He lives a blissfully surreal life with his wife, 8 year old son and exotic cat in Brooklyn New York.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Penguin USA Blue Rider Press's edition of 'Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy', April 2014.

"Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy is one of the most important books I’ve read on Victorian taxidermy in months. It’s like Jude the Obscure
but with squirrels."
Gary Shteyngart, The New York Times

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Novel inspired by Walter Potter

Bestselling author Kate Mosse has written a novel inspired by Walter Potter! 

The Taxidermist’s Daughter, coming out 11th September, is described as "a Gothic psychological thriller" which deals with a series of grisly murders which rock a flood-beset village in West Sussex in 1912.

The book draws on the landscape where Mosse spent her childhood and is said to be inspired by visits she made in the 1970s to the Walter Potter Museum of Curious Taxidermy.

Mosse said: "I love Gothic fiction and I was obsessed with Walter Potter’s museum when I was a child. Potter was a self-taught Victorian taxidermist, who established a small gallery in his native village of Bramber in mid Sussex. I was both horrified and horribly drawn to the exhibitions and, I suppose, I’ve always thought I’d write something inspired by the museum.
"Having finished my Languedoc Trilogy after 15 years of researching, planning and writing, the time was right to exchange the mountains of the Pyrenees for the creepy glass bells jars and grisly feather and fur displays of a taxidermist’s workshop."

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Who Killed Cock Robin? Sing along with Lady Lucinda Lambton

Here is Lady Lucinda Lambton, broadcaster, writer and photographer, peering at The Death & Burial of Cock Robin on 20 May 1988, when she opened the collection at Jamaica Inn, Cornwall*:

* see page 14 of Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy

You might like to listen to Lady Lambton's Desert Island Discs here:

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Stuffed Freaks and a Private Tour of "Potter's Museum of Curiosity": Guest Post by Annabel de Vetten-Peterson

In 1998 I came across Mr. Potter's wonderful works while researching my degree pieces for my BA in Fine Art Sculpture at Wolverhampton University. I was making conjoined taxidermy pheasants and was reading up on all sorts of things about sideshows, freaks of nature, general natural oddities and unusual taxidermy.

Monday, 16 September 2013

My Trip to Alexis Turner's "London Taxidermy": Guest Post by Joanna Ebenstein, Morbid Anatomy Editor and Co-Author of "Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy"

A few days ago, I paid a lovely visit to Alexis Turner, author of the new and beautiful Thames and Hudson book Taxidermy. He is also, it turns out, the man behind the showroom/shop "London Taxidermy." Below are some photos from my visit; you can see more by clicking here, order a copy of Turner's book by clicking here, and find out more about "London Taxidermy" by clicking here.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Potter on Japanese TV


Filmmaker Ronni Raygun Thomas of The Midnight Archive appeared on Japanese TV station WOWTV this morning.

Full clip on its way, here are some screengrabs in the meantime... how kawaii. :)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Sir Peter Blake's Handwritten Foreword for "Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy"

Sir Peter Blake hand-wrote the foreword for Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy.

Editor's Note

My granny and grandpa used to live in Littlehampton, by the sea in West Sussex. My godmother would accompany me there for summer holidays. These week-long trips were full of magic and adventure for an 8–12 year-old. I remember an amusement park that boasted magic mirrors and a ghost train, and buying my mum silly souvenirs. I remember being ferried around in a shiny old Daimler and granny wearing gloves in the summertime. I remember sitting and reading for hours on the me-sized window seat halfway up the stairs. But most of all I remember Walter Potter's Museum of Curiosity at Arundel.

Friday, 23 August 2013

On The Death and Burial of Cock Robin: Guest Post by John Troyer, Centre for Death and Society, Bath University

All animal life eventually dies. This much we know. At a certain point in time, the organic structures supporting a living organism break down and ultimately cause death. How we humans then represent that organic death and decide what should be done with our dead bodies is significantly less concrete. Indeed, the human handling of dead human bodies remains one of Homo sapiens greatest inventions. But for the human inventions of burial, cremation, tissue digestion, freeze drying, etc., the dead body would remain where it died, decomposing for all to see. Such unsightliness after dying has become largely controlled in the modern West, and a dignified death can often mean a deceased person’s body was removed from public view before it looked too dead.

Walter Potter’s The Death and Burial of Cock Robin brilliantly illustrates this postmortem human inventiveness.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Introductory Text from "Guide Book with Educational Notes and References to Potter's Museum, Bramber, Sussex," Third Edition

Thanks to Ben Hard for the copy of the guidebook from whence this was taken!

Re-animated: Guest Post by Vanessa Woolf, Storyteller

There's something about being surrounded by dead bodies that adds zest to any storytelling session. Maybe that's why so many of my gigs are beside coffin-filled catacombs (West Norwood cemetery), pickled moles (The Grant Museum), mummified social reformers (UCL main campus) or the irresistable stuffed Ursus Arctos of the Cuming Museum. And maybe that's why I'm such a huge fan of Walter Potter.

Walter Potter; A Guest Post by Divya Anantharaman

I was in my early twenties when I discovered his work. Fresh from a mushroom-hunting hike, buzzing with the elation that could only come from the mossy green sharpness of an early spring afternoon combined with the questionable fruits of the expedition having their assault on what I thought were my senses (but more likely, my digestion). My adventure had ended much too early, and I found myself looking for relief in the campus library with what I loved most-animal folklore and mythology. The library had just unveiled a computer-based catalogue, full of bugs and reliably so, as was most digital technology in 2003. And so, my search for 'Aesopica' resulted in articles about iron deficiency, while 'Baphomet' resulted in  archived issues of Better Homes and Gardens from 1950-60, and Beatrix Potter resulted in Walter Potter.