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Help us bring Victorian eccentric taxidermist Walter Potter’s iconic Kittens' Wedding tableau to New York!
Help us bring Victorian eccentric taxidermist Walter Potter’s iconic Kittens' Wedding tableau to New York!
198 backers pledged $5,947 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Video by Filmmaker in Residence Ronni Thomas

Walter Potter was a self-trained British Victorian country taxidermist best remembered for a series of anthropomorphic tableaux in which he posed stuffed animals such as kittens, rabbits and squirrels as if engaging in human activities. These works were exhibited for nearly 150 years until the museum he founded was divided at auction in 2003. The pieces then moved the homes of private collectors around the world, most of them never shown since.

Perhaps the most unforgettable of all of Potter's works is his final tableau, The Kittens’ Wedding, completed in the 1890s. Equal parts perverse and adorable, and utterly spellbinding, The Kittens’ Wedding transcends kitsch through its tenderness and sensitive attention to detail.

The Morbid Anatomy Museum has secured the permission of the new owner of The Kittens' Wedding, Mrs. Sabrina N. Hansen, to exhibit it—along with other never shown in the US Potter pieces such as Monkey on Goat and a family of Albino Rats—in an exhibition set to run at The Morbid Anatomy Museum from September 1 - November 6, 2016 and curated by J. D Powe and John Whiteknight.

The Kittens' Wedding is the kind of perfect object that truly must be seen to be believed. We are incredibly lucky in that it is owned by a collector in our community, who has agreed to loan it so long as we can pay for safe and professional transportation and insurance.

If you, like we, long to spend time with this incredible piece, please consider contributing to this campaign which will allow us to share the magic of Kitten Wedding with its admirers! 

To sweeten the deal, a number of collectors--including proud owners of Walter Potter pieces!--have kindly offered to open their homes and share their incredible collections as special awards for those who support this campaign:

Dr Pat Morris with The Death and Burial of Cock Robin
Dr Pat Morris with The Death and Burial of Cock Robin

Dr Pat Morris, co-author of Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy and holder of the largest collection of Potter pieces and ephemera including The Death and Burial of Cock Robin, A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed, an eight legged kitten, and Potter’s pet cat and dog as well as taxidermy by Hermann Ploucquet whose work shown at the Great Exhibition in 1851 may have inspired the young Walter Potter.

Errol Fuller in his home collection, from the short film Errol Fuller Collector www.roddypainefilms.co.uk
Errol Fuller in his home collection, from the short film Errol Fuller Collector www.roddypainefilms.co.uk

Errol Fuller's (author of Voodoo Salon) collection featuring Walter Potter’s Athletic Toads, his only mechanized tableau; Fencing mice with mole undertakers by Hermann Plouquet (above; circa 1850); a passenger pigeon; a Charles Waterton Saki Monkey "deformed to look like a little hairy man" (circa 1825); Hummingbirds by George Ashmead (circa 1850);  and more. (Near London, England)

Collection of John Whitenight and Fred LaValle
Collection of John Whitenight and Fred LaValle

Have a peek at a true Victorian Obsession! John Whitenight (author of Under Glass: A Victorian Obsession) and Fred LaValley invite you for a tour of their collection of extraordinary 19th century taxidermy including Potter's Monkey and Goat, along with rare French automatons (one that smokes a cigarette!), plus period rooms containing an array of Victorian furniture and decorative objects all of which are contained in a circa 1865 Philadelphia townhouse. For the donation of $1000 a tour of this incredible collection featured in Victorian Homes, The Magazine Antiques and several documentaries. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Carol Holzer in her home collection
Carol Holzer in her home collection

Carol Holzer's collection, featuring Walter Potter’s two-faced kitten, a taxidermied lion, and many more pieces of taxidermy and sundry curiosities. (Chicago, Illinois)

Potter Rabbit with Tusks, as seen at Cranfield's Curiosity Cabinet
Potter Rabbit with Tusks, as seen at Cranfield's Curiosity Cabinet

A private tour of Cranfield’s Curiosity Cabinet, featuring Potter's rabbit with tusks and case of 3 robins (Leigh on Sea, Essex)

J. D. Powe Collection, a private taxidermy collection of epic proportions by the curator of Taxidermy: Art, Science and Immortality. (Patterson, New York)

Please note: These pieces of taxidermy were made in the 19th century before the spaying and neutering of animals was common practice, and when animal control and abatement was carried out in ways we recognize as antiquated today.

Risks and challenges

The owners of these one-of-a-kind pieces of Walter Potter Taxidermy have very kindly offered to loan us their objects, so long as we can cover insurance and professional transportation. Our creative director co-authored and did photography for a book on Walter Potter (Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy, with Dr Pat Morris, 2013). This put her in touch with many of the collectors who currently own his pieces, a number of whom have kindly agreed to either loan their pieces or open up their homes as awards.

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    Thank You Post Card

    Handwritten Custom Limited Edition Thank You Post Card

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    Thank You Post Card + ticket for 1

    Handwritten Custom Limited Edition Thank You Post Card + 1 ticket to see The Kitten Wedding and Friends: The Art of Victorian Anthropomorphic Taxidermy (Open September - 1 November 6)

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    5 Walter Potter postcards + ticket for 1

    5 limited edition Walter Potter postcard package + 1 ticket to see The Kitten Wedding and Friends: The Art of Victorian Anthropomorphic Taxidermy (Open September - 1 November 6)

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    See The Kitten Wedding & Friends

    Tickets for two to see the show The Kitten Wedding and Friends: The Art of Victorian Anthropomorphic Taxidermy (Open September - 1 November 6)

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    Walter Potter film + admission for 2

    Download of the award winning short film Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens, by filmmaker in residence Ronni Thomas + Tickets for two to see the show The Kitten Wedding and Friends: The Art of Victorian Anthropomorphic Taxidermy (Open September - 1 November 6)

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    Visit The Viktor Wynd Museum in London

    Tickets for two to The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History with a complimentary Hendrick's Gin & Tonic (London; must be used within 6 months)

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    Signed photo of Kitten Wedding

    Limited edition signed photo 8 x 10 by Joanna Ebenstein of Walter Potter's Kitten Wedding (US Orders Only)

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    The Kitten Wedding Opening Party

    Two tickets to opening party (September 1) with drinks, snacks, collectors, and opportunity to commune with The Kitten Wedding before the general public!

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    Photo, postcard set & tickets for 2

    Limited edition signed photo 8 x 10 by Joanna Ebenstein of Walter Potter's Kitten Wedding + 5 postcard set + Tickets for two to see the show The Kitten Wedding and Friends: The Art of Victorian Anthropomorphic Taxidermy (Open September - 1 November 6)

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    Tour of American Natural History Museum

    $100: Special private tour for 12 at the American Museum of Natural History with Laura Allen on the topic of Deconstructing Dioramas: Inside the Hall of North American Mammals (New York; winner responsible for own travel arrangements)

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    Tour of Cranfield's Curiosity Cabinet

    Private tour with James Cranfield for 12 of Cranfield’s Curiosity Cabinet, which houses Potter rabbit with tusks and case of 3 robins by Potter (Leigh on Sea, Essex; winner responsible for own travel arrangements)

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    Private Taxidermy Class

    Private class for two for an anthropomorphic taxidermy class with Morbid Anatomy Taxidermist in Residence Divya Anantharaman at The Morbid Anatomy Museum (New York)

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    Private Drawing Class at the Museum

    Private drawing class with Wilder Duncan for you and 11 of your friends with Kitten Wedding at The Morbid Anatomy Museum (New York)

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    Private Writing Class with Tonya Hurley

    Private creative writing workshop led by New York Times bestselling author and MAM founding board member Tonya Hurley for you and 7 of your friends with Kitten Wedding at The Morbid Anatomy Museum. Evening includes champagne and some special wedding treats. (New York)

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    Bronx Zoo Field Trip

    Bronx Zoo Field Trip: Enjoy a motorized tour for 6 people through the Bronx Zoo, headquarters for the Wildlife Conservation Society, and visit the spectacular inhabitants of the Congo Gorilla Forest, Madagascar!, Tiger Mountain and Jungle World, among other award-winning exhibits that will delight animal lovers of all ages. (New York. Value $1500)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Tour of Pat Morris Collection

    Private tour for two of the collection of Pat Morris, author of Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy, housing the largest collection of Potter works and ephemera including The Death and Burial of Cock Robin, A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed, Potter’s own pet cat and dog, an eight legged kitten, and taxidermy by Hermann Ploucquet, whose work was shown at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and may have inspired the young Walter Potter. (located near London, England; winner responsible for own travel arrangements)

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    Tour of John Whitenight Collection

    Private tour for two of John Whiteknight a true Victorian Obsession! John Whitenight (author of Under Glass A Victorian Obsession) and Fred LaValley invite you for a tour of their collection of extraordinary 19th century taxidermy including Potters Monkey and Goat, along with rare French automatons (one that smokes a cigarette), plus period rooms containing an array of Victorian furniture and decorative objects all of which are contained in a circa 1865 Philadelphia townhouse.

    For the donation of $1000 a tour of this incredible collection featured in Victorian Homes, The Magazine Antiques and several documentaries. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; winner responsible for own travel arrangements)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Tour of J.D. Powe Collection

    Private tour for two of J. D. Powe Collection, a private taxidermy collection of epic proportions by the curator of Taxidermy: Art, Science and Immortality. (Patterson, New York; winner responsible for own travel arrangements)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Tour of Errol Fuller Collection

    Private tour for two of Errol Fuller's Collection, featuring Walter Potter’s Athletic Toads, his only mechanized tableau, with eighteen toads enjoying a sunny afternoon in the park, as well as a Charles Waterton Saki Monkey deformed to look like a little hairy man by (circa 1825); Hummingbirds by George Ashmead (circa 1850); Quetzals, taxidermist unknown (circa 1870) and more. (Near London, England; winner responsible for own travel arrangements)

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    Tour of Carol Holzer Collection

    Carol Holzer's collection, featuring Walter Potter’s two-faced kitten, a taxidermied lion, and many more pieces of taxidermy and sundry curiosities. (Chicago, Illinois; winner responsible for own travel arrangements)

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    Private Party at the Museum

    Host a private party or renew your vows at the Museum with Kitten Wedding for you with you and 60 of your friends, with snacks and drinks included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)