According to Potter experts, farmers would bring Potter dead animals, fully aware of his art. Its interesting to see The Kittens Wedding through an internet-era cat-obsessed lensit seems like our collective proclivity to project ourselves into nature for sheer enjoyment is integral to being human. What the hell is that about? I think humans are egocentric, Powe told me. We are sort of unique in the natural world with respect to having practices that we engage in that are uniquely human. The idea of seeing animalsfor example, squirrelsthat are not particularly held in high esteem do those activities that are in our exclusive domain is a disruptive thing to be able to see. I think thats what really generates the intrigue. Sure, the thought of preserving dead animals and projecting human activities on them for the sake of entertainment and art probably sounds disturbing, but keep in mind that taxidermy was very much an accepted part of 19th-century culture. Taxidermy at the time when [Potter] was growing up was just kind of part of what people did, Joanna Ebenstein, co-founder of the Morbid Anatomy Museum told me over the phone, explaining that it was a subject routinely featured in womens magazines (imagine if Cosmo had a section on taxidermy). Taxidermy arguably reached its height in the Victorian era in terms of popularity, curator Powe told me over the phone.
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