Catalogue of Valuable Specimens - Glass eyes and fossils p.4

Here we read that Mr Stubbs had created the cases for the taxidermy, manufactured the synthetic eyes for the specimens, polished and prepared the fossils, and restored the antiques. The writer also explains that Stubbs has 'enjoyed the friendship' of the former librarian at the British Museum, and the patronage of Ripon's nobility and gentry.

About The Catalogue of Valuable Specimens


The curiosities listed in this catalogue formed the basis of 'Mr Stubbs' Private Museum in Ripon, North Yorkshire. The collection encompassed an eclectic mixture of objects: stuffed animals, fossils, antique sculptures and casts of ancient seals and coins. There were also bizarre items: a piece of witch's tongue; a specimen of skin taken from the body of a murderer. Particularly rare objects included a shoe worn by the maid of honour at Queen Anne's wedding, a torture instrument found on the Spanish Armada, and a 'gigantic wild cat', which the collector claims to have 'trapped' on Ben-Lomond.

The catalogue was produced in 1867. Mr Stubbs had decided to sell the collection, and so the publication was aimed at prospective buyers.

Since the late 16th century collectors of curiosities had been obsessed with classifying and rationalising the wonders and oddities of the natural world. And their collections often reflected an interest in the bizarre and mythical. Exotic shells and jewels, stuffed animals, clockwork and scientific instruments were accompanied by the stuff of fairytales - mermaids, dragons, or the footprints of giants.

Taken from: Catalogue of Valuable Specimens
Author / Creator: Rev J B P Dennis
Publisher: W Clowes and Sons
Date: 1867
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: 7005.ccc.14