Sunday, 16 October 2011

Potter's Museum of Curiousity

When I was a child in the 60s, I always looked forward to our annual coach trip to the sea at Brighton. There was always a break in the journey from our home in Berkshire. The location never altered - Potter's Museum of Curiosity in Bramber, near Steyning, Sussex.

Walter Potter specialised in anthropomorphic taxidermy where stuffed animals are dressed as people or displayed in human activities. Such displays were very popular in Victorian and Edwardian times. I loved it and so did hundreds of other people - the museum was always packed when I went there with my parents. My absolute favourite was the funeral of Cock Robin.

I was recently looking through a box of papers and found my original small collection of printed ephemera that I kept from my visits. Here is a selection of them. For this who want to know more about this marvellous collection and its sad demise, I will place a few links at the end as well as two Pathe Films short films about it. Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.

One of the booklets available that detailed some of the amazing tableaux.

A wonderful guide book filled with hand-drawn illustrations

The Kittens' Wedding
The Rabbits' Village School

My Favourite - The Burial of Cock Robin

A page from the brochure featuring Walter Potter

The frontispiece of one of the booklets

A familiar view to many. Far right is the museum, the tearoom to the left

The Squirrel Club - playing cards

The Kittens' Tea Party



Walter Potter on Wikipedia

Great selection of photographs in Daily Telegraph article


  1. Fascinating; this seems to me as if I am reliving my theatrical past; and, when I come to think of it, your blog header which I have glanced over so many times is surely a 'green man' ?? Maybe I'm wrong, but then I've just spent an evening of gazing into the past of two families, mine and R's. Thanks SO MUCH for the Bramber images.

  2. The AMAZING things you find for us Laurie !

    Had never heard of this place, and what a shame the collection got sold off. But where did the pieces go ? Is none of it still in a museum somewhere today ? And where did he get all his animals from that he stuffed and posed in these unbelievable still lifes ? New meaning to the term "nature morte"...