Walter Potter’s collection of anthropomorphic taxidermy included cigar-smoking squirrels, athletic toads, and a kittens’ tea party. Victorian Gothic writes:
While the preservation of hunting trophies may be the best-known use of the taxidermist’s art, fans of Walter Potter’s anthropomorphic tableaux can attest to the fact that it has its other, more silly uses. Potter (1835-1918) was a self-taught taxidermist who grew up in the rural community of Bramber, Sussex, at a time when stuffing dead animals was considered to be a suitable hobby for young boys. For technical assistance, he would have had any number of popular manuals at his disposal. For inspiration, he had his younger sister’s illustrated nursery rhyme books and the Great Exhibition of 1851, where anthropomorphic taxidermy was first displayed to the British public.
His first major contribution was an elaborate diorama depicting the death and burial of Cock Robin, which he began at age 19 and took seven years to complete.