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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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EXCLUSIVE

Walter Potter: the man who married kittens

19 minutes

Long before internet posts of cute animals, there were Victorian taxidermy tableaux

Born in the English village of Bramber in 1835, the Victorian-era taxidermist Walter Potter created a collection of anthropomorphic dioramas that continued to attract thousands of visitors until it was controversially dispersed at auction in 2003. His intricately detailed scenes of stuffed little animals frozen in distinctly human situations – kittens at a wedding, frogs in a playground, rabbits in a classroom – tend to be dismissed as creepy or kitsch by the art establishment. But that attitude is resented as snobbery by Potter collectors, who argue that his curious creations are inspired Victorian artifacts worthy of veneration and preservation. A portrait both of popular entertainment from a bygone age and of those who prize it as art, Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens was commissioned by Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum and played at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

Director: Ronni Thomas

Producer: Joanna Ebenstein

Executive Producers: Tonya Hurley, Tracy Hurley Martin

Editor: Will Ellis

Photographer: Robert Carnevale

Composer: Stephen Coates

Website: Morbid Anatomy Museum

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

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