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Animal Furniture, pt. 2



"To merely catalogue the various items of 'animal' furniture I have seen would fill whole pages of THE STRAND MAGAZINE. I have been shown ugly-looking 'knobkerries,' fashioned by natives from the horns of the rhinoceros. There are scooped-out pheasants as pie-covers; the eggs of emus and ostriches as basins and jugs; hares' heads as matchboxes; flying opossums holding card-trays; coiling snakes as umbrella stands; capercailzie claws as candlesticks; wild asses' ears as tobacco-pouches; hippopotamus skulls as armchairs; foxes' heads as tooth-pick stands; elk and wapiti legs supporting tables; panthers hugging satin-lined waste-paper baskets; flamingoes holding electric lights in their beaks; swans' necks as ink-bottles; crocodiles (with very expansive smiles) as dumb waiters; and elephants as 'cosy corners.'"




"The moment the door is opened at Baroness Eckhardstein's beautiful house in Grosvenor Square, this gigantic and truly formidable bear is seen flooding the hall with a soft red light. This bear is one of the very largest ever seen in this country. It was shot during one of its fishing excursions in Alaska, and set up by Rowland Ward, who presented it to the Baroness on the occasion of her marriage. The electric light can be switched on from behind."




"This 'tiger chair' is a capital example of 'animal' furniture. The seat is covered with the beautifully-marked skin, and the head and paws are so arranged as to give the impression that the terrible animal is about to spring. Observe the ingenious way in which the tail is disposed, as though the tiger were coiled right round the chair. This chair was made by Mr. Butt for a gentleman in the Indian Civil Service, and it is particularly interesting from the fact that the tiger was a dreaded man-eater, which had devastated and appalled several villages in Travancore. The day it was shot, this brute came into a village in search of a dainty meal, and succeeded in carrying off a little white girl, ten years of age. This child was afterward rescued but she was so shockingly lacerated that she died the same night in the house of a missionary doctor."



"Stranger still, we next behold the foot of a big elephant fashioned into a liqueur stand, so that it may be placed on the table in the midst of a group in reminiscent mood, Nimrods who may, perchance, be fighting their battles over again. This is one of Mr. Rowland Ward's registered designs. The foot is that of an Indian elephant – a magnificent beast – shot by the then Duke of Edinburgh, during a well-known tour.

Very large elephant feet, by the way, are coveted trophies, and are, moreover, interesting indications of the height of their late possessor, twice the circumference of the forefoot giving the height of the elephant at the shoulder."



"The elephant here shown is not exactly a 'cosy corner,' but he forms quite a unique hall-porter's chair; at the same time, it would be somewhat invidious to speak of the thing as an 'elephantine hall-porter's chair' – even though in some cases the description might be peculiarly appropriate. This accommodating animal is a young Ceylon elephant, modeled by Rowland Ward in a perfectly natural position, but adapted for the use of the hall porter. The hall porter asleep in this singular chair, by the way, should make an interesting picture."



"The last piece of 'animal' furniture depicted in this article is a capital specimen of Mr. Butt's artistic work – a bear set up as a dumb waiter, carrying in one hand, or rather paw, an electric lamp with frosted globe, and in the other a tray with a couple of boxes of cigars and some paper pipe-lights in a liqueur glass. Notice the excited appearance of the bear, who seems to be perpetually roaring at somebody, and doing is duty only under very forcible protest."

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
risu_risu
Mar. 29th, 2007 04:12 am (UTC)
thank you for posting all of this. i just read the prior post & these furniture pieces are fascinating. i can't imagine what it would be like to walk into a house & see furniture like that.
madfishmonger
Mar. 29th, 2007 05:47 am (UTC)
Fasinating. Some of them are hard to grasp, what an unusual thing to do and/or own.
(Deleted comment)
brunhild_walkjr
Mar. 29th, 2007 10:38 am (UTC)
I agree :S poor animals!
sarathena
Mar. 29th, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
This is fascinating to be sure... as is the writing. I love how the animals are accommodating or excited!
clockwork_cat
Mar. 29th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
I got a cynical giggle out of imagining a bear's den with a taxidermied human for a dumb waiter and lamp. Really, I feel very saddened by the blatant lack of respect men have shown for the life of not only our own species, but other species as demonstrated above.
A very good post, and quite stirring; thank you for sharing!
vintagelover
Mar. 29th, 2007 09:20 pm (UTC)
Back in the late 70's and early 80's when I purchased antiques in New Orleans for my store, I used to see the glass showcases full of stuffed mongooses and cobras, rare birds such as owls, and more. I did buy a couple even though I am soft hearted. And at auctions, I often saw the elephant foot planters and umbrella stands, tiger rugs, and such.

Here in the rural South, many homes still are full of taxidermied stuff. I know someone who has a black bear rug and assorted albino racoons and such. Pretty spooky.
chthonia
Mar. 30th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC)
Interesting post!

That baby elephant chair is extremely disturbing.

missmoonlight74
Mar. 30th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
Arrgghh....the tiger looks so alive!!
indeed these people had a strange morbid disturbing horrorific taste...
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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darkvictoria
The Darker Side of the Victorian Era

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