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Squire Charles Waterton the Naturalist
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Rattlesnake Experiment
Jenny the Ape
Taxidermy
Wildlife Watchtower

Charles Waterton dabbled in many things once his wandering days were over. He opened Walton Park up to 'lunatics' and others, carried out some interesting experiments with rattlesnakes and woorali, devised decoys to fool poachers, produced political commentaries, became a popular author, and, of course, was a master taxidermist.

Click to enlargeWaterton the Author. Just one of the many editions of his Wanderings. The Rattlesnake Experiment. Some excitement in Leeds! Jenny the Ape. After her death, she became 'Martin Luther After His Fall'.

Click to enlargeThe Nondescript.
"It was whispered that the Squire had, when in the 'back woods' in South America, shot a native human being, and had actually 'mounted' his head and a portion of his bust, after the fashion of his 'setting up' ordinary natural history specimens and placed him in the grand staircase at Walton Hall, having bribed the custom-house officers to secure his safe transition through the grasping clutches of these vigilant guardians of the revenue.
Malicious gnashing of the teeth, from professing friends was currently whispered on the one hand, whilst on the other side of the question, wringing of the hands and affectionate lamentations were gravely deplored, in the most heart-felt regret, for 'the poor Squire's unfortunate and pitiable position' in which it was reported he had so indiscreetly placed himself. ...........

"Time, however, without any very lengthened interval, convinced these deluded and would-be wise instigators of intended mischief, that this bust was simply modelled from the skin of the head and bust of a monkey, and that Mr. Waterton had not dyed his hands in the blood of a human being." (1)

The Nondescript is on display in Wakefield Museum.

Wildlife Watchtower. The last one remaining of of Waterton's stone hides or watchtowers, rebuilt a few years ago. The Noctifier - one of the Squire's political commentaries.
"The Guild of Taxidermists will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Waterton (1782 - 1865); naturalist, philanthropist, conservationist and father of modern artistic and scientific taxidermy.
on Thursday June 3rd 1982 at Walton Hall."
[Postcard]

■ More about taxidermy.

Notes
1. Charles Waterton, His Home, Habits & Handiwork, Richard Hobson, M.D., Cantab., Leeds. Published by Whittaker & Company, London, and John Smith, Leeds. 1st edition 1866.

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Charles Waterton Exhibition
Charles Waterton
1782 - 1865
Traveller and Naturalist
An exhibition to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Waterton.
Catalogue 1982.
Wakefield Museums & Art Galleries
Handiworks
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