Taxidermy au­thor his­tory

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - SPORTING ANSWERS -

I re­cently ac­quired at auc­tion a book on taxidermy writ­ten by a Thomas Brown. Dated 1885, it was pub­lished by Thomas C. Jack of Ludgate Hill, Lon­don. Can you tell me any­thing about the au­thor?

Cap­tain Thomas Brown first came to promi­nence in 1819 when he vis­ited Paris on be­half of the Univer­sity of Ed­in­burgh to try to buy a taxidermy col­lec­tion made by a French­man, Dufresne, who had also pub­lished a work on taxidermy. On re­turn­ing to Scot­land, Brown de­cided to pub­lish his own book on the sub­ject. The Taxi­der­mist’s Man­ual con­tained sub­stan­tial trans­lated por­tions of Dufresne’s work. This book ran to at least 28 edi­tions and, un­til the end of the 19th cen­tury, was the prin­ci­pal in­struc­tion book on taxidermy writ­ten in English.

It was then re­placed by Mon­tagu Browne’s Prac­ti­cal Taxidermy, which quickly ac­quired fame and went to sev­eral edi­tions. Browne, a for­mer com­mer­cial taxi­der­mist, went on to work full time on the sub­ject for Le­ices­ter Mu­seum for more than 25 years. His ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge of the sub­ject as an art form en­sured his last­ing fame and, to a great ex­tent, eclipsed Thomas Brown. Your book is, how­ever, a wor­thy ad­di­tion to any col­lec­tion of books on taxidermy. TJ

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