A Cabinet of Curiosities


When I still had a television I used to enjoy Lucinda Lambton’s films for the BBC, and this one—a short history of the British Wunderkammer—was a particular favourite. Lambton’s films cover similar ground to those of Jonathan Meades but with a lighter touch, and free of Meades’ often relentless pontification. This episode of 40 Minutes, first broadcast in 1987, includes some unusual architecture—a Lambton speciality—but concentrates for the most part on seeking out a few surviving examples of the ad hoc museums hidden away in country houses. Among the more notable features there’s Walter Potter’s taxidermy diorama, The Death and Burial of Cock Robin, and the full 40-minute programme showed the incredible Bowes Swan automaton in action. The copy of the film at YouTube is missing the last 10 minutes so the swan is absent although it’s easily seen elsewhere.


Previously on { feuilleton }
The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities
The specimens of Alex CF
Walmor Corrêa’s Memento Mori
The art of Ron Pippin
Custom creatures
Jan Svankmajer: The Complete Short Films
The Bowes Swan
The Museum of Fantastic Specimens

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