Friday, 5 May 2017

Beautiful Boxes and Fauxdermy

I was looking for a way to display my butterflies that was a little bit different to usual framing. The vintage entomology displays in places like the Natural History Museum have always fascinated me, even though the rows and rows of impaled insects are rather unsettling. Obviously most of these collections were sourced in less enlightened days, when conservation wasn't on the radar. Today's specimens are, on the whole, from sustainable stock.

Well mine definitely are, a new version of taxidermy; I've heard it called Fauxdermy or very creatively Craftydermy.

I began to look at specialist suppliers and found a great variety of options, though none of them quite fitted the bill. Then late one evening I decided to pop 'entomology boxes' into a search on a well known internet site and up came 'Antique Butterfly Drawers used at the Natural History Museum to house Rothschild collection of British Butterflies'. I was amazed and thrilled to find out that every so often the museum sells of some of its older display pieces, these were perfect.

My finger hovered over the quantity button and there were 25 available.
I bought the lot and was thrilled when they arrived. They have so much character, some have labels or handwritten notes on the drawer face. I cleaned the glass, so beautiful with tiny bubbles showing how old it is, and waxed the wooden edges and lid. They also have a distinctive smell of moth balls when you lift the lid, reminding me of my Gran's wardrobe.
They are perfect and set off my work beautifully, I add vintage maps depicting the habitat of the specimens and small stitched labels with their Latin name.
Here are some of the boxes on display at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey.

The Rothschild collection has been partly digitised and is available to view here.