Coastal bird cases

How were the birds preserved?

The birds have been preserved using a process known as taxidermy. First, the skin is removed and cleaned. Then the skin is mounted over a mannequin made from woodwool, tow (sack cloth material) and wire. The animal is posed in a standard or lifelike way and glass eyes are added.

How were the habitat scenes made?

The habitats for each case were made by the taxidermists Pratt and Sons, based at the clock tower in Brighton. They were built by referencing the paintings Booth made while observing the birds before he shot them. The foliage in the cases was made by female members of the Pratt family. They were highly skilled milliners (hat makers) who worked in a hat shop next to the taxidermist shop. The foliage was made from a mixture of materials including wax flowers painted by hand, leaves made from fabric. Real grass was also used, though this was prepared by the taxidermists by baking it in a sand oven to preserve the colour.

You can also learn about bird behavior through looking closely at the cases.

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