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Walter Potter

Stuffed Canary
Stuffed Canary

The Potter family ran The White Lion at Bramber, now The Castle Inn. Young Walter Potter took up taxidermy and created The Original Death and Burial of Cock Robin with 98 birds. He displayed the tableau at The White Lion in 1861 and caused a sensation. As Walter’s creativity increased, his family built a museum nearby. So many people flocked to see it that the platform at Bramber Station had to be extended.

Walter Potter died in 1918. His stuffed animals, many in comic scenes such as The Kittens’ Wedding and The Rabbits’ Village School, finally left Bramber in the 1970s. In 2003 the collection, by then displayed at Cornwall’s Jamaica Inn, was auctioned off piece by piece. The artist Damien Hirst soon prompted a new worldwide infatuation with Walter Potter and several tableaux have since been reunited in exhibitions.

This canary was a neighbour’s beloved pet, stuffed by Walter Potter but never displayed as part of his collection. See our article about Walter Potter HERE and also Michael Portillo’s TV programme HERE

The British Pathe archive has two films, from 1955 and 1965, HERE