– Jo Hatton, Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman
We wanted him to be in tip-top condition to meet his new audiences – so he’s been cleaned and x-rayed to find out exactly what he’s made of, and packed carefully in his crate for the journey. He’s missing his walrus-wrinkles because at the time he was mounted very few people had seen a live walrus. This appearance is not untypical of large scale taxidermy at the time – and is of course part of his charm.
The Horniman Museum and Gardens waved off its walrus today, on his first trip for more than 100 years. The walrus – famously overstuffed by his Victorian taxidermist and weighing around a ton – is on his way to the Turner Contemporary in Margate.
He will spend the summer taking pride of place in a new exhibition, Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing, 25 May – 15 September 2013.
The walrus – probably a young male – was bought by Museum founder Frederick Horniman in the early 1890’s and has moved no more than 25 feet since the Horniman opened in 1901.