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  • Susan Elaine Jones

Marvels of Ipswich, Part II

Next in the amazing story of a trip to the Ipswich Museum.

Part I (in case you missed it) is here.

Here, I want to share just one of the many case displays along the walls. Because there is so much stuff in this brilliant museum, it is hard to get a clear photo of the ensemble without getting a big cat blocking the shot. So I employed the services of that talented artist again.

Mammalia case in Ipswich Museum, Artist's own work, no tracing!
Ruffed Lemur philosopher

I could have spent all day on this case alone. Every single animal has been taxidermied with it's own unique character and personality. Just take, for example, the three characters on the left hand side of the second shelf.

We have a ruffed lemur, apparently discussing philosophy for all time.

But the best is the expression on the faces of his two neighbours, who presumably have both been sat there for just this side of eternity.

The vervet monkey to his right is just about taking it in his stride. The bonnet macaque may be about to turn a little bit stabby. Not a museum to stay in overnight in case they do get up and finally take revenge.

Vervet monkey that is bored of the philosophy monologue
Bonnet Macaque who is REALLY bored of this philosophy monologue

Head in a jar and happy baboon

The others have just as much character - the quite annoyed pig tailed macaque (I couldn't spot the pig tail - I don't know if they mean like what little girls' have or what pigs have... write in with your answers!). I also enjoyed the exhibitionist proboscis monkey on the top right (photo redacted for decency) - who is having a much better day than the one randomly beheaded and put in a clock dome on the bottom right. He is shoved in behind a quite happy, possibly even giddy hamadryas baboon.

Every single one of these taxidermy animals has something special to note about it. And they so often reflect nothing of the character of the animal in life (how would the taxidermist know? But I have never seen a ruffed lemur discuss philosophy - I've only met the thieving ones who steal any food I had whilst photographing at the zoo). This only adds to their charm, because you may think that seeing them on David Attenborough (or his programs) has shown everything about an animal, but the realism and accuracy means that you have never seen them like this!

So, next time you visit a museum with taxidermy, (if not this one, then consider the Horniman for its own special taxidermy) spend a moment considering how this is something you just may never see again.

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