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The Rhinoceros and the Chatham Railway: Taxidermy and the Production of Animal Presence in the "Great Indoors”

Jones, Karen (2016) The Rhinoceros and the Chatham Railway: Taxidermy and the Production of Animal Presence in the "Great Indoors”. History, 101 (348). pp. 710-735. ISSN 0018-2648. E-ISSN 1468-229X. (doi:10.1111/1468-229X.12325) (KAR id:56326)

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Abstract

This article considers the practice of taxidermy and its relationship to the ‘golden age’ of big game hunting, the science of natural history and the dramaturgical codes of empire by looking at the collecting exploits of one man, Major Percy Powell-Cotton (1866–1940), and his attempts to preserve the spoils of the hunt in the ‘great indoors’. As various scholars have pointed out, taxidermy offers up a vivid and striking ‘afterlife’ of the animal with a unique (and some might say unsavoury) ability to elucidate our environmental and cultural relations with other species. As such, the reanimated animals of empire, posed on the walls of the country estate or arrested in museum cases, represent valuable historical artefacts ripe for unstitching. Drawing on the work of Garry Marvin, Sam Alberti and Merle Patchett, this article stalks Powell-Cotton's taxidermic project across various sites of capture, production and display (what I call necrogeographies) to illuminate the sinuous contours of imperial natural history and the stories of pursuit, production and performance lurking beneath the skin of the reanimated animal.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1468-229X.12325
Subjects: D History General and Old World
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: M.R.L. Hurst
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2016 09:41 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 16:50 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/56326 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Jones, Karen: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4787-6830
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