6.00pm – 9.00pm
Charles Waterton was a traveller, a 'larger than life' person and an inventive taxidermist, now regarded as one of Britain's great eccentrics. His activities, and the aggravation he caused, continue to fascinate, inspire and amuse even 150 years after his death. His famous book Wanderings in South America, published in 1825, described his travels at a time when few people made such journeys. Taxidermy was his passion. He used his skill to fabricate imaginary creatures, forming three-dimensional religious and political cartoons, lampooning issues and people that attracted his ire. His surviving specimens offer a fascinating insight into the skill and ideas of a controversial and idiosyncratic nineteenth century naturalist. This book focuses on his taxidermy, a prominent topic that has never been critically examined in any of the previous accounts, despite the key role it played in Waterton's life.
Dr. Pat Morris is a retired staff member of Royal Holloway College (University of London), where he taught biology undergraduates and supervised research on mammal ecology. In that capacity he has published many books and scientific papers and featured regularly in radio and TV broadcasts. The history of taxidermy has been a lifelong hobby interest and he has published academic papers and several books on the subject. With his wife Mary he has travelled widely, including most of Europe and the USA, seeking interesting taxidermy specimens and stories. They live in England where their house is home to the largest collection and archive of
historical taxidermy in Britain.