Wunderkammer: An ongoing project.

Courtesy Bibliotèque centrale du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.

Bonnier de la Mosson’s Second Cabinet of Curiosities

Ok, first of all, a little bit of history! The word wunderkammer is German & literally translates as ‘wonder room’. Another, more familiar term for the same thing, in English, would be ‘cabinet of curiosities’. These collections of curios, usually relating to natural history, ethnography, botany, archaeology and geology, began appearing around about the 16th century when the curious minds of the Renaissance sought to enrich their knowledge and understanding of that which surrounded them at the same time as satisfying a need for visual, cultural and material stimulation. I won’t go into too much detail as all I am not here to give a history lesson, just giving a bit of background for the curious. The picture to the left is a beautiful example of a natural history cabinet.

I have always had a fascination with such collections. One of my favourite places in the world has always been the Natural History Museum in London. I am lucky enough to live about 10 minutes away from it’s little sister as well- the Tring Zoological Museum. The museum in Tring is home to Sir Walter Rothschild’s HUGE collection of taxidermy as well as cabinets of tiny birds, insects, fish, eggs, shells and so on. It even boasts two taxidermy mounts of now extinct mammal species- the thylacine and the quagga.

Polar Bear

Lower Gallery at Tring Zoological Museum.

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The mighty sideboard!

In 2010, while I was away in Berlin, unbeknownst to me, my parents decided they no longer wanted their enormous sideboard that comprised cupboards, bookshelves and 2 locking, glass-fronted cabinets. They decided to give it to me & upon my return it was empty and ready to take its place in my bedroom. I would like to draw your attention to these particular words: LOCKING, GLASS-FRONTED CABINETS. Oh hell yes. With a whole load of stuff in storage from my years of magpie-like collecting of anything pretty/old/dead/all of the above, I already had a pretty damned decent idea of what these cabinets would soon be filled with. One has been designated home to all things natural history related (that will fit anyway) and is filled with taxidermy (mostly my own), bones (both bought and found by myself), shells, fungi and other naturally occurring curiosities that I have picked up on my travels. The other is filled with religious and occult paraphernalia, antique (mostly Victorian/Edwardian/1920’s-40’s) items and things given to me over the years that hold great sentimental value.

I posted a few photographs of some of my stuff a short while back in a previous entry so I won’t recycle the same old stuff again. I have, however, run out of space in the cabinets and started using up wall space and other surfaces in my room which has allowed me to add some larger items to my collection. Here are some photos of the new bits and pieces and one or two of my old favourite pieces 🙂

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Fallow stag skull shield mount, print tray filled with bits & pieces, large shells, plaster cast pigs head and misc other stuff all on top of a beautiful hand stitched table cover made by my Nana.

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My trio of roebucks and a Moroccan style lantern I found at a market.

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Blue wildebeest skull shield mount.

That’s about it for now. If anyone would like a closer look at anything, please feel free to ask! I have artwork and whatnot to post about next, but I think as another insight into my collection, I may post a bit about the beautiful Victorian books I have been lucky enough to add to my shelves in recent months soon. Some of the illustrations in them are too good not to share.

Ta ta for now 🙂

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This entry was published on August 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Wunderkammer: An ongoing project.

  1. I think you own my dream house!

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