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Handiworks - Letters
A Letter to Charles Watkins, 1852.
 LETTER 2. To Charles Watkins, 1852. (Extracts)
Letter sold at auction in 2005, see notes below.

Autograph letter signed ("Charles Waterton"), to Charles Watkins, about taxidermy:
("...the mode of stuffing, now in use, or to speak more knowingly, the art of taxidermy is so utterly deficient in real science, that, I have never yet found satisfaction in any specimen that has come under my inspection.. .");

the retention of fish scales in "pristine Splendor";

the practice of bleeding:
("...Had I not kept a careful look out, I should have quitted this world long ago.—I have bled myself with my own hand, above one hundred and forty times, with the greatest possible success; and I feel now as fresh and hearty, as though I were only 40 years old...")

and the lions, herons, crows and jackdaws in the sanctuary of Walton Hall; and his own habits:
("...We keep Spanish hours, by breakfasting at 8, dining at one, & drinking tea and coffee at six...").


On the verso of the letter is a draft of a letter presumably by Watkins, concerning his interest in the German, Swedish and Danish origin of many English words, Waterton's letter one page, 4to, integral address leaf, postmarks, stamp and seal removed, but the motto "Better kinde freind than freind kinde" written out by hand, Walton Hall, 10 August 1852.


Footnotes: A fine letter by this pioneering ecologist: Waterton had invented a method of taxidermy that, through soaking skins in an alcoholic solution of perchloride of mercury, preserved creatures without the use of stuffing; a technique he used not only for conventional purposes but also for his notorious composite creations which did so much to foster his reputation for eccentricity, such as the Nondescript, the 'Wild Man of the Woods' fashioned from a monkey's hindquarters.

Sold for £ 456 inc. premium. 15 Mar 2005.
Bonhams Auctioneers, London. https://www.bonhams.com/


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