Abraham Dee Bartlett

We are always very interested in Purchasing Victorian Taxidermy, please respond via this on-line form of what you have for sale. HERE

The Great Exhibition of 1851


The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations was held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. It was the first international exhibition of manufactured products and was enormously influential on the development of many aspects of society including art and design education, international trade and relations, and even tourism. The Exhibition also set the precedent for the many international exhibitions which followed during the next hundred years.
The following Taxidermy names were those exhibitors present at the 1851 Exhibition.
Dennis, Rev. J.B.P. - Bury St. Edmunds
Gordon, C. - Museum Dover
Harbor, Thomas - Reading
Beevor, J. (M.D.) - Newark - upon Trent
Walford, C., sen - Witham Essex
Walford, J. - Witham Essex
Williams, Thomas Mutlow - Oxford St., London
Leadbeater,John - Golden Square, London
Spencer, Thomas. - Great Portland St., London
Gardner, James - Oxford St. London
Dunbar, William - Golspie, Scotland
Bartlett, Abraham Dee - College St, Camden Town
Hancock , J.A. - London
Plouquet , H. - Stuttgart, Wurtemburg (Germany)

It is just one of the above that this page has been created for and in the words are spoken through the ages by family memebers themselves. It is with special thanks I extend my gratitude to Ms Wendy Scott, without who's donations this page would not have been possible.

Biography of Abraham Dee Bartlett.

Araham Dee Bartlett. 1812-1897. This picture was taken in 1891.
Abraham Dee Bartlett born 27th October 1812 was one of the most prolific and important taxidermists of his time. He considered himself a Naturalist, being that from a very early age evinced a great delight in all matters connected with Natural History and became an expert on the welfare and behaviour of animals after years of observation. In the early days of his career scientific men as well as collectors of rare birds, and especially of rare bird's eggs, made his house a resort, and the reputation of his extraordinary skill in the art of taxidermy became so widely spread that he was obliged to remove his business into larger premises about the latter part of the year 1846, a large house in Great College Street, Camden Town. He worked with or for Dr. J. E. Gray, Mr. G. Gray, Dr. Mantell, Prof. Owen, the Dean of Westminster, the Bishop of Oxford, Sir Charles Lyell, Prof. Huxley, F. Fuller, Yarrell, Ogilby, Gould, Blyth, and Sir Joseph Paxton and he corresponded regularly with Charles Darwin giving information on the habits, anatomy and breeding of animals and received a signed copy of 'Origin of Species' when first published. As someone who included the painter J M W Turner as a family friend, Bartlett was a son of a hairdresser in Covent Garden, one of 9 children and completely self taught saying:
"After all, teaching by the eye is beyond all doubt necessary, for however much we learn by books or words, it is unequal to that which we witness as a means to acquire knowledge."
In the Great Exhibition of 1851 he was awarded the first prize for specimens of taxidermy which included, Eagle under glass shade, diver under glass shade (the property of her Majesty the Queen), snowy owl, Mandarin duck, Japanese teal, pair of Impeyan pheasants, sleeping ourang-utang, sun bittern, musk deer, cockatoo, foxes; carved giraffe; two bronze medals from the Zoological Society; dog and deer; crowned pigeons; leopard and wolf and prize medal for a model of the Dodo. This is the report of the juries: 'The number of British exhibitors is thirteen. Of these the following deserve especial notice. A. D. Bartlett exhibits an ingenious example of the art in the constructed figure of the Dodo - a bird which was once a native of Mauritius, and found there in considerable numbers at the beginning of the last century, but now, as far as is known, entirely extinct.
The drawings of Savery, preserved in the Belvedere at Vienna, and in the Royal Gallery at Berlin, some remains of a skeleton formerly on the collection already alluded to, of Elias Ashmole, consisting now but of the head and one foot, are the data from which the figure has been compiled. The process is of course very different from that of preserving a real animal, the skeleton and skin of which are entire; an artificial body has to be constructed and then covered, feather by feather, with such plumage as is most in accordance with our knowledge of the bird. This has been very skilfully executed, and the result, by the testimony of Mr. Strickland and of Mr. Gray of the British Museum, "represents with great accuracy the form, dimensions and colour of the Dodo, as far as these characteristics can be ascertained from the evidences which exist," whilst it "does great credit to Mr. Bartlett's skill and to his practical acquaintance with the structure of birds." There are other specimens exhibited by Mr. Bartlett which are perhaps more attractive, inasmuch as they represent nature with a fidelity of which all can judge. The pair of Impeyan Pheasants, entitled "Courtship," and the sleeping Ourang-utang, "Repose," are especially deserving of notice. The fleshy parts of the latter have been very skilfully treated; and the dried and shrivelled appearance which they so often assume is entirely avoided. The skeleton of the Orang-utang has been preserved and also the viscera; the whole forming an example of the manner in which rare specimens should be dealt with in order to secure accurate information to the naturalist, and to promote the advancement of science. He was honoured with commands from her Majesty the Queen, and H.R.H. the Prince Consort, pieces which are believed to be now at Windsor Castle. He looked after her birds at Windsor Castle when she was away receiving a gold watch for his efforts.
Bartlett was Superintendent of the natural history department at Crystal Palace 1852-9. He then became Superintendent of the London Zoological Gardens for nearly 50 years 1859-97 and was responsible for introducing the idea that animals should be kept in habitats and fed food as closely related to their natural environment in the wild and having both an indoor and outside space. He was also responsible for replacing wooden individual cages with brick buildings designated to separate species, like the aquarium and reptile house and opening the gardens to the public. This concession to the public undoubtedly brought about the popularity of the collection and its advancement to its present condition. He purchased many animals on behalf of the Zoological Society until London Zoo had developed a collection to rival any other, naming one baby African elephant Jumbo from the phrase 'Mumbo Jumbo' unaware that this animal would grow into the biggest elephant the world had ever seen and who's name is now synonymous with being large. He gave manly lectures at the London Zoological Society, was widely published in 'Land and Water' and others, had 2 books of his memoir's published after his death. Bartlett had 7 children, Clarence was deputy Superintendent and his other son Edward was Curator of Maidstone Museum in Kent from 1874-90 and Curator of Sarawak Museum in Borneo, 1895-7. Bartlett died 7th May 1897 and is buried in the family grave in Highgate cemetery, being only one of 2 humans to die in the zoo, the other being a member of the public who passed away on a bench.

The Story relating to the Gorilla in Bartlett's own words from the journals owned by his family

Araham Dee Bartlett with his first Gorilla, circa 1858. This is the first time these images have ever been shown. Bartlett with the dead gorilla was taken in 1858, the year before he became Superintendent of the Zoological Gardens, photographed by Peter Ashton,.
Araham Dee Bartlett became Superintendent of the Zoological Gardens, photographed towards the end of his life.
Jumbo at the Zoological Gardens.
"The first Gorilla with which I had to do came into my hands whilst I was engaged at the Crystal Palace in 1858. It was sent to the British Museum in a barrel of spirits, and Professor Owen placed it in my possession to preserve and mount for the National Museum; after I had preserved it I, by permission of the trustees of that museum, exhibited it at the Crystal Palace, and delivered various lectures on it and the larger apes. "My Dear Sir, - a Mr. Du Challu is desirous to have his largest Gorilla skin properly stuffed. I know no one better qualified to put him in the way of getting this properly done than yourself. Any information, or help you can render, will oblige, yours truly, Dr. Owen" The long and, apparently, interminable contention that was kept up respecting Mr.Du Challu exploits, called forth much correspondence that was quite useless in determining the truth. Many of the remarks and objections that were brought forward on both sides are totally futile and also inaccurate, and tend to obscure the facts. I will endeavour to explain some of them away, and at the same time make am attempt to throw some light upon the subject, which I admit is involved in great obscurity. I will commence with my first introduction to Mr. Du Challu himself, having been called upon by him to assist him with my advice, through Professor Owen.

Telegram from Queen Victoria in Balmoral.
At Du Challu's request I went to Mr. Murray's to see the skin unpacked; having done this I conveyed the same to my office for the purpose of making a thorough and careful examination of it, and to report upon it. I invited my pupil and assistant, Mr. F. Wilson, to meet M. Du Challu and me and consult with us upon the matter. At this interview I called M. Du Challu's attention to the face of the animal, which I told him was not in a perfect condition, having lost part of the epidermis. In reply he, Mr. Du Challu, assured me that it was quite perfect, remarking, at the same time, that the epidermis on the face was quite black, and that the face of the skin being black was a proof of its perfectness. I, however, then and there convinced him that the blackness of the face was due to its having been painted black; finding I had detected what had been done, he at once admitted that he did it at the time he exhibited it in New York.
The question that arose in my mind upon making this discovery, was, did Mr. Du Challu kill the Gorilla and skin and preserve it? If so, he must recollect that the epidermis came off; supposing he did forget this, he had to paint the face to represent its natural condition. These facts (to which I had a witness) led me to doubt the truthfulness of Du Challu's statement, and it occurred to me that he was not aware of the state of the skin, and probably had not prepared it himself. The skin was in a wretched condition, and was much decayed, and as my examination was not directed to ascertain by what means this animal had been killed, I took less notice of the wounds than I otherwise should have done. Upon this latter subject I beg to offer a few remarks. The first object of a taxidermist is to render all the damages or wounded parts of a skin as perfect as possible, and this can be done by a skilful operator in such a manner as to render the detection of the damaged parts next to impossible. Had the beast been shot in the back, the bullet hole could have been easily closed while in a fresh condition, but not so easily after the skin was hard and dry.

Joseph Wolf, taken Dec 10th 1849.
Henry Goodwin 1899 .
The letters of correspondence to Darwin are held at Cambridge University and his other letters by the London Zoological Society, both books of memoirs were compiled and edited by his son Edward who said: Since taking up his abode in the Gardens he became a walking Zoological Encyclopaedia. Judging from the mass of correspondence, alone, which has come into my possession, it is evident that, notwithstanding his onerous and responsible duties in looking after the keepers, animals, buildings and gardens, he found time to record his experiences for the benefit of science and for the instruction and amusement of the animal-loving public.

Our side of the family descend from Abraham's son Clarence. All of Clarence's children were born in the Zoo including Daisy who was my Nan's mother. It was the family joke that 'mother was born in a Zoo'. There were some interesting memorabilia passed down including the foot of an elephant made into an umbrella stand, many gifts presented to Bartlett by visitors to the Zoo from the Queen and the Aga Khan to African weapons from the famous Chief Lobengula of Matabeleland and some tiny gloves from the smallest man in the world Tom Thumb. There was also a pair of oil paintings by the family friend Turner which hung above Daisy's fireplace in Kensington. Nanny said during the war they put them under the stairs during the blitz and when the house was bombed the staircase was the only remaining part and the paintings had gone. But the tale does not end there, when I told this to Aunt Mary after Nan had died the truth came out which was that they were so poor the bailiffs came and took the paintings.


During my residence in Little Russell Street, Covent Garden, I received a dead, full-grown tiger, from a menagerie. Being anxious to preserve the skeleton as well as the skin, I had the whole of the flesh carefully removed from the bones, leaving the vertebrae and ribs in their entirety. I then had this portion (the skeleton) of the tiger conveyed to the top of the house, and, in order to secure it, it was made fast by a cord to the chimney-stack. It had been there some time, during which the cord must have perished, because one stormy night this skeleton was blown from the roof into the street below. The next morning, to my great astonishment, I found that my presence was required at Bow Street Station, on the supposition that some horrid crime had been committed, and that the skeleton, which had fallen from the roof of my house into the street, was that of some human being and had been conveyed to the nearest police station. It turned out to be my tiger skeleton, but I found it necessary to have the bones of the head, legs and tail carried to the station in order to enable the surgeon, who had been sent for to examine the portions of the skeleton, to certify that they were not "human remains."

LETTERS & CORRESPONDENCE, many thanks Wendy for supplying the translations from family archives

From among the correspondence I have selected some of the most interesting letters, which will form a series by themselves, they having no reference, one with another, to any particular subject. Respecting the letters from Charles Darwin I took the liberty of writing to his son, Mr. Francis Darwin, upon the subject, and in answer he says -

"Dear Sir, -
I regret very much that up to the present I can only find the few letters I now send. Either I or my assistant have been systematically through my father's innumerable portfolios, and I have little hope of discovering any more. There were of course many more, and I cannot imagine where my father put them.
"Yours faithfully, "FRANCIS DARWIN."

"August 24, 1860. "Dear Sir, -
I have directed a copy of my Origin of Species to be sent to your address to the Zoo rooms in Hanover Square, and I hope that you do me the favour to accept it. If you will read article on Hybridism, at page 264, you will see why I am anxious about the embryos in eggs from first crosses. I was very glad to see a donkey with a wild ass in the gardens, for I infer from this that you intend rearing a hybrid; if so I hope that you will look carefully for stripes on the shoulder and legs in the foal: you will see why I am so anxious on this head, if you will read the little discussion in the Origin from p. 163-167. "I will let you hear about the Moscow rabbits (these Moscow rabbits were deposited in the Society's Gardens on September 30, 1860) after I have heard from the young lady who brought them, whether she consents to their being sent to the Gardens. If you should hear from Hunt anything about the record of the gestation of the Canidoe, or about the parents of hybrid jackals, perhaps you will kindly communicated to me, and remain, dear sir,
"Yours faithfully, "CHARLES DARWIN."

"May 21, 1861. "Dear Sir, -
The bearer will deliver three rabbits (if none dead on voyage) from Madera. Will you take charge of them for me, and show this note to Mr. Sclater? They are zoologically very interesting, for they have run wild on a little island of Porto Santo, since the year 1420; and judging from two dead ones seen by me, they have become greatly reduced in size and modified in colour and their skeletons. I want much to see them alive, and to try whether they will cross freely with common rabbits. I am going immediately to leave home for two months. Would there be any objection to your keeping them for some time and matching them with some other breed; or if you think fit, first try and get some purely bred? "I may perhaps be mistaken, but I was very much surprised at many of the characters of the two dead specimens which I saw. "If any one should die, I should like its skeleton. Pray forgive me for troubling you, but I know not what to do with them at present. "If worth consideration, I would of course pay for their keep.
"In haste, "Dear sir, "Yours very faithfully, "CHARLES DARWIN."

With reference to the above rabbits, Mr. C. Darwin writes :-
"The two little Porto Santo rabbits, whilst alive in the zoological Gardens, had a remarkably different appearance from the common kind. They were extraordinarily wild and active, so that many persons exclaimed on seeing them that they were more like large rats than rabbits. They were nocturnal to an unusual degree in their habits, and their wildness was never in the least subdued; so that the Superintendent, Mr. Bartlett, assured me that he never had a wilder animal under his charge. This is a singular fact, considering that they are descended from a domesticated breed. Lastly, and this is a highly remarkable fact, Mr. Bartlett could never succeed in getting these two rabbits, which were both males, to associate or breed with the females of several breeds which were repeatedly placed with them." The two rabbits above-mentioned were deposited in the Society's Gardens, May 21, 1861, and entered as two females, but Mr. Darwin says they were males.
"January 30, 1865. "My Dear Sir, -
You have two rabbits of mine from Porto Santo. Will you be so good as to have one of them killed, taking great care that the skull and vertebrae are not broken, and send as soon as you can, addressed - 'C. DARWIN, ESQ.,

'Care of Down Postman, 'Bromley, Kent.'

"I shall be very much obliged if you will inform me whether you have got young from these rabbits with the females of other breeds? "I want to beg one other favour; I want to examine under the microscope the tipped feathers of Gallus sonneratii. Could you send me one or two? "Believe me, my dear sir, "Yours very faithfully, "CHARLES DARWIN."

"Dec 19, 1866, "My Dear Sir, -
I was with Mr. Wood this morning, and he expressed himself strongly about you and your daughter's kindness in aiding him. He much wants assistance on another point, and if you could aid him, you would greatly oblige me. You know well the appearance of a dog when approaching another dog with hostile intentions before they come close together. The dog walks very stiff, with tail rigid and upright, hair on back erected, ears pointed and eyes directed forwards. When the dog attacks the other, down go the ears and the canines are uncovered. How could you anyhow arrange so that one of your dogs could see a strange dog from a little distance, so that Mr. Wood could sketch the former attitude, of the stiff gesture with erected hair and erected ears. And then he could afterwards sketch the same dogs, when fondled by his master and wagging his tail with drooping ears. These two sketches I want much, and it would be a great favour to Mr. Wood and myself if you could aid him. "My dear sir,
"Yours very faithfully, "CH. DARWIN.

"Zoo, January 1888. "DEAR MR. BARNUM, -
Your kindness in thinking of me by sending me frequently newspapers containing most interesting accounts of your good will and good health, and the great amount of labour you bestow in advancing mankind, causes me to think how neglectful I am, and have been, in not more frequently writing to you; it occurs to me that at the end of this year I ought to do something to make up for this apparent apathy. In attempting to do this, I am reminded that my time is limited, and that I am engaged in writing my experiences and recollections from my early life; and considering that I was born in the year 1812, you well know that much must have happened to me since that time. My book, I hope, will be published before long, and I intend it to contain many anecdotes with reference to animals, etc., together with their treatment, food, and other particulars as to the management of wild animals in captivity, with illustrations. Having told you this, I am sure you will know that I have not been idle, considering that I have my unceasing duty to perform daily, but I am happy to say the work is nearly finished. "Trusting you are well, and wishing you a happy new year, "Believe me,
"Yours faithfully, "A. D. BARTLETT."

"Bridgeport, Conn., U.S.A., "February 22, 1888. "Dear MR. BARTLETT, -
I write in haste to say I shall be glad to get and pay for your book, when it is published, and will try to hit some American friend who will bring it over, unless you know some party who will bring it. I am certain it must be very interesting. "We are very busy getting the big show ready to open in New York, March 25th. It grows larger and more marvellous annually. "Hoping you are all well and happy as we all are, "I am, as ever,
"Very truly your friend, "PHINEAS T. BARNUM."

"Craven Head, Drury Lane, "May 2, 1851. "Sir, -
In compliance with your desire of knowing a few of the facts connected with me, I hasten to lay the following account before you. I was born May 2, 1820, at a small village called West Somerton, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. My father, who was a respectable farmer, was 6 ft. 6 in. in height, and married Elizabeth Diamond of the same neighbourhood; she was 6 ft. in height and weighed fourteen stone. "The family consisted of five daughters and four sons, all of whom attained an extraordinary height, the males averaging 6 ft. 5 in. in height, and females 6 ft. 4in. "It is sometimes a difficult and at all times an unpleasant proceeding for a man to give a description of his person owing to the simple reason so briefly and pointedly expressed by Burns, 'we never see ourselves as ithers see us,' but, however, if I confine myself to facts and measurements, neither egotism nor modesty can lead me astray. Height, 7 ft. 6 in. Weight, 33 stone (14 lbs. to the stone) 62 in. round the chest 64 in. round the waist 36 the abdomen 36 round the thigh 21 the calf of the leg. "Perhaps it will be necessary to inform you that in 1848, having a great desire to see the Western world, I took passage on H. M. royal mail-steamer Canada, and after one of the most boisterous and dangerous voyages made across the Atlantic, I arrived at the city of New York on Thursday, December 14, 1848. I remained in America two years, and during the greater part of that period I travelled in company with the celebrated General Tom Thumb. "And now, sir, after trespassing so far on your valuable time, allow me to subscribe myself,
"Your obedient servant, "ROBERT HALES, "Craven Head, "Drury Lane."

Robert Hales, the Norfolk giant, was introduced to Her Majesty, Prince Albert, and the Royal Family, at Buckingham Palace, on April 11, 1851. "Feb, 17, 1895. "Sir, -
I would be greatly obliged to you if you can tell me the cause, and still more, a cure for my cockatoo eating his feathers. I have had the bird ten years; the first two years he ailed nothing. I fed him as directed by the ship's butcher, who brought him, with Indian corn, a few chilli-pods, a teaspoon of hempseed thrice a week, bread, potatoes, greens, fruit, a little milk pudding without egg, sometimes a bone to pick. "After this my husband treated him to bacon-rind in the morning, and sometimes I gave him a taste of egg. Presently an irritation arose in his feet, he bit his toes till they bled profusely, then one claw fell off and has never grown again. "We stopped the bacon and egg, but he has been careful to maintain an open sore on his leg ever since, will not let it quite heal. I fancy he likes the taste of blood. We have tried endless remedies without success; any greasy ones like glycerine make him bite more fiercely. This was his sole disfigurement; until last December his plumage was always fine. For a year previous I had been giving him lean meat once or twice a week, on the advice of an Australian who did so and who thought his leg did not heal because he was poorly fed. "The cockatoo suddenly began to bite the leg more than ever until it was swollen to twice the size, then started, not to pull out, but to bite all the feathers on his breast and his back with some from his wings, and chew them up deliberately. A bird authority near said his blood was overheated; his diet must be wrong; meat was given up, even sago-pudding stopped, he has now only plain biscuits, bread, potatoes, and his seeds. The leg has returned to its former dimensions and still not quite healed, but he continues to bite off the feathers on breast, back, and wings as they grow, leaving the stumps in the flesh, and he chews these when not observed, therefore he is a melancholy-looking object, though his spirits are excellent. I have been advised to ask your advice because you study the birds under your care, and you must have had vast experience. I enclose a stamped envelope, and will be most grateful if you can tell me of a remedy, and also what you find the most suitable diet for these birds; mine will not eat any kind on nuts. I do not know whether I have inflicted a needlessly long letter upon you, if so, my excuse must be that I thought you might understand the case better if I told you exactly how the bird has been treated. "My cockatoo has always had a bath once a week except in frosty weather, with some of Jeyes' Purifier in it, and he is never exposed to draughts, though he is taken in the garden during the day in warm weather. "Apologising for the trouble I am asking you to take, "From yours sincerely,

(the answer) "Zoo, Feb. 18, 1895. "MADAM, -
I fear your bird is past recovery; no doubt the improper food has been the cause of its suffering.
"Yours sincerely, "A. D. BARTLETT."

London Zoological Gardens 1894, as Abraham Dee Bartlett would have remembered.

Jumbo The Elephant

Jumbo circa 1875 .
Jumbo the Elephant had been captured as a two-year-old calf in 1861 in the French Sudan, bought by a collector, and sold on to the Jardin des Plantes, Paris. In 1865 he was transferred to London Zoo, where he was named by his keepers and became a national institution, giving rides to thousands children. Barnum himself recalled in his autobiography Struggles and Triumphs: "I had often looked wistfully on Jumbo, but with no hope of ever getting possession of him, as I knew him to be a great favorite of Queen Victoria, whose children and grandchildren are among the tens of thousands of British juveniles whom Jumbo had carried on his back. I did not suppose he would ever be sold". But in 1882, as a result of our letter to Bartlett, Barnum secured his wish, and Jumbo was purchased for $10,000. There was an outcry, and attempts were made to stop the sale. The Daily Telegraph summoned up the national mood: "No more quiet garden strolls, no shady trees, green lawns, and flowery thickets... Our amiable monster must dwell in a tent, take part in the routine of a circus, and, instead of his bygone friendly trots with British girls and boys, and perpetual luncheons on buns and oranges, must amuse a Yankee mob, and put up with peanuts and waffles". Farewell to Regent's Park On Wednesday last week, between 9 and 12 o'clock noon, the keepers managed to get Jumbo securely bound and boxed up in the huge timber cage, nearly as heavy as himself, constructed for his carriage to the trans-Atlantic seaport. In the afternoon it was dragged by a powerful team of dray-horses out of the gardens of the Zoological Society.
At the Docks On Thursday it reached the St. Katharine's Docks near the Tower of London, a distance of four and a half miles, and was hoisted by a steam-crane on board a barge which conveyed it down the river to Millwall. Here on Thursday afternoon it was lifted from the barge and placed on a quay of the docks where it remained until Friday. On that day the steam-ship Assyrian Monarch which had been loading cargo and coaling on the opposite side of the dock was warped over to the quay where the elephant was to be put on board. The two keepers Newman and Scott placed themselves on the little platform of the cage in front of Jumbo and the hoisting commenced. The American, "Elephant Bill", stood at the corner giving directions to the workmen so as to prevent any unnecessary swaying by the men having hold of the guiding-ropes while Scott leaned down patting Jumbo's trunk and keeping him from moving more than he could help. Quickly the box rose to a height sufficient to clear the bulwarks, then was traversed over the hatch and lowered gently to its resting place the whole work being completed in exactly eight minutes. When it was pronounced "All right" by Newman three ringing cheers were given by those on deck and responded to from the shore.
Jumbo circa 1881 .
The food provided for the elephant upon his passage, which will be about thirteen days is two tons of hay, three sack of oats, two sacks of biscuits, one sack of onions (a delicacy of which Jumbo is exceedingly fond). A large company of guests had been invited by the owners to witness the embarkation of Jumbo and the distinguished visitors were also invited to a luncheon in the saloon of the vessel. Two or three complimentary toast were proposed and a gold medal was presented to the American elephant keeper, Mr Newman, as a token of the respect and esteem he had gained amongst his English friends during his sojourn here. Mr Bartlett replied for the Zoological Society of England, in doing so giving a short history of Jumbo. No one, he said, liked the elephant more than he did, he was an extraordinary good-tempered beast and while he had many friends he had not an enemy in the world. At the same time he was subject to periodical outbreaks, which from his immense strength made him, although the most amiable, the most dangerous animal that Mr Bartlett had ever known. The concluding remark that he would like to see Jumbo again in England some day, and that if not perhaps he might go to America to look at him, was received with loud cheers. The Assyrian Monarch belonging to the Monarch line of the Royal Exchange Shipping Company left Millwall Docks at five o'clock on Saturday morning. She was slowly towed down the Thames to Gravesend her passage being eagerly watched by multitudes of spectators in boats and ships and on the banks of the river who loudly cheered Jumbo at his departure from England. Mr Tallet of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals remained on board, and at Gravesend, Lady Burdett-Coutts the benevolent patroness of that society came on board with her husband and visited poor captive Jumbo in his box and gave him a parting feast of buns. The Assyrian Monarch was signalled off the Lizard Point and Scilly Isles on Monday afternoon when all was reported to be well on board. Jumbo Arrives Safely At day-break on 10 April 1882 the Assyrian Monarch arrived at New York's North River and Jumbo's fateful adventure in America was about to begin. From the Illustrated London News, 1 April 1882.


P.T. Barnum's prize elephant Jumbo was killed September 15, 1885, crossing railroad tracks in St. Thomas, Ontario. The collision derailed the train, and 150 people were required to haul the elephant's body up an embankment. Jumbo's death was a great loss to Barnum's show, but the loss was somewhat mitigated when both the taxidermied hide of the beast and its skeleton were exhibited together. On the night of September 15, 1885, the Greatest Show on Earth was playing the town of St. Thomas, Ontario. Twenty-nine elephants had already finished their routines and had been led down the railroad tracks to their waiting cars. Only the smallest, named after Tom Thumb, and the largest, Jumbo, remained to close the show. As keeper Matthew Scott finally guided the two mismatched performers along the tracks, he heard a whistle. The unscheduled express train hit Tom Thumb first, scooping him up on its cowcatcher and knocking him dawn a steep embankment, breaking his leg. Not willing to attempt the embankment and hemmed in by the circus train on the other side, the fleeing Jumbo was hit from the rear. The locomotive was derailed but Jumbo was crushed, his skull broken in over a hundred places. Still conscious and groaning, the dying elephant was comforted in his final moments by Scott. It took 160 men to drag the immense body to the edge of the embankment and roll it down. Overcome, Scott lay down upon his old friend and lapsed into a deep sleep while souvenir hunters approached with their knives.

Jumbo 16th September 1885, day after his death.
Jumbo being set up by Tuft's Taxidermists.
It took two days for the Rochester-based taxidermist Henry Ward to arrive on the scene. After measuring every last detail of the animal, he and six local butchers fought through the heavy fat and the thick odor to recover the 1,538-pound hide and 2,400 pounds of bone, for Barnum was determined to have two Jumbos to replace the flesh-and-blood model, one made of skin, the other a skeleton. When Barnum heard that the hide could be stretched to make an even bigger beast than Jumbo had been, he wrote Ward, "By all means let that show as large as possible.

Henry Ward & Buffalo Bill.

Bartlett's letter from Zoological gardens.
He was the eldest son of Abraham Dee Bartlett, Superintendent of the Gardens of the Zoological Society of London, and was born on the 25th May 1844, in Great Russell Street in St Martins in the field, London. While still a young man he accompanied Canon H. B. Tristram on a collecting trip to Palestine and Syria spending 4 years collecting birds on the upper Amazon River from 1865-9. In 1865 he started the trip up the Amazon River leaving England in January on a sailing vessel, he arrived at Para, Brazil, two months later and then proceeded by steamer up the Amazon to eastern Peru. With headquarters at Nauta, he made journeys up the Ucayali and Huallaga rivers and to near by areas and returned to England in February, 1869. On his return he assisted his father at the Zoological Society of London, around 1871. The birds collected on this expedition, including many new forms, were made the subjects of a number of extended papers by Sclater and Salvin in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London for 1866-1873. From 1875 to 1890 Bartlett served as Curator of the Maidstone Museum in Kent. During this appointment he exchanged bird specimens with Spencer Baird on several occasions including spoons, combs, beads and tweezers from Madagascar. In 1891 left England for Borneo, where he became Curator of the Brooks Museum at Kushing in Sarawak 1895-7. Was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union in 1889. Returning home in 1897, on the death of his father, he was made a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and devoted his attention largely to literary work. His principal publications include an incomplete 'Monograph of the Weaver Birds (Ploceidae) and Arboreal and Terrestrial Finches,' 1888-89, of which five parts were published, and 'Life Among Wild Beasts in the Zoo,' by A. D. Bartlett, edited by Edward Bartlett, 1900. Appendix 1 of this volume contains 'Additional Notes and Anecdotes,' by Edward Bartlett, and Appendix 2, 'Letters and Correspondence.' On the appearance of his 'Monograph of the Weaver Bird,' in 1889, he was elected to the American Ornithologists' Union. John Sage, in his first report as Secretary of the Union, stated in 'The Auk' for January, 1889, p. 68, says that Edward Bartlett was elected a Corresponding Member. Bartlett's name does not appear in the lists of members, apparently due to the fact that during his residence in the Far East, his address was unknown to the officers of the Union.-T. S. Palmer. Died April 1908 in East Ashford, Kent aged 63.

Charles Hose

Charles Hose (1863-1929) was born in Hertfordshire, England, and educated at Felsted and Cambridge University. Hose joined the Sarawak civil service in 1884. He spent his whole career in the service, retiring and returning to England in 1907. He rose to be Divisional Resident and Judge of the Supreme Court. Hose was a keen naturalist, a field observer and collector, an ethnographer and cartographer. He was the first to spot the connection between the disease beriberi and diet. Robert Walter Campbell Shelford (1872-1912) was born in Singapore. Shelford was educated privately until he entered King's College, London and later Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He went to Borneo to become the curator of the Sarawak Museum and later worked in the Hope Department entomological collections of Oxford University, England. Shelford was a naturalist and a leading authority on cockroaches.

ITEMS WANTED. Please respond via this on-line form HERE with a description of what you have for sale.


AJ Armitstead
Barry Williams of Cannock
David Keningale of Warrickshire
Stereoviews of Taxidermy
Modern Taxidermy
Taxidermy Trade Labels
Fish Taxidermy
Scottish Taxidermy
Reproduction Eggs
Taxidermy in America
Taxidermy in America II
Taxidermy in America III
Chicago Natural History Museum
The Booth Collection
The Booth II Collection

The Booth III Collection

The Booth IV Collection

James Hutchings

James Gardner
Rowland Ward Taxidermy
Scientific Taxidermy
Peter Spicer of Leamington Spa
H T Shopland of Torquay
T.E.Gunn of Norwich
The Great Exhibition of 1851
Walter Potter
Bass Rock Scotland
Passenger Pigeon
Countdown to Extinction
UK Taxidermy Price Index
Charles Darwin
Taxidermy Wanted
Taxidermy Housekeeping]
Taxidermy Restoration]
Trophies/Games mounts
Hutchinson of Derby Taxidermy
Jefferies of Carmarthen Taxidermy
Victorian Taxidermy
Edwardian Taxidermy
Fish Taxidermy
Taxidermy Forums
Museums containing taxidermy
Taxidermy Guilds
UK Taxidermists
Taxidermy Articles
Taxidermy Law
Victorian Taxidermy Dealers
Taxidermy Suppliers
Carl Ethan Akeley
Abraham Dee Bartlett
John James Audubon
John Gould, "The Bird Man"
Taxidermy Links

Field Sports
The Four Elms Collection

The Four Elms Collection II

William Borrer
H Murray of Carnforth
Victorian Taxidermy

Taxidermy Links. Please double click on the Taxidermy link icon below.

Taxidermy Links