Original photograph of a nineteenth century French Cabinet of Natural History. KANGAROO, PLATYPUS.

Original photograph of a nineteenth century French Cabinet of Natural History.

France? circa 1880.

Albumen print photograph, 17.5 x 23 cm., early manuscript note to the reverse, 'Cabinet de physique (côte gauche droit au fond)'.

A very rare original albumen print photograph of a French cabinet of scientific and natural curiosities taken around 1880, with early manuscript note to the reverse, 'Cabinet de physique (côte droit au fond)'. Pride of place in one of the cabinets is given to a well-prepared specimen of a wallaby or small kangaroo and, even more remarkably, a platypus is also displayed on one of the high shelves near the corner.

A very rare original albumen print photograph of a French cabinet of scientific and natural curiosities taken around 1880, with early manuscript note to the reverse, 'Cabinet de physique (côte droit au fond)'. Pride of place in one of the cabinets is given to a well-prepared specimen of a wallaby or small kangaroo and, even more remarkably, a platypus is also displayed on one of the high shelves near the corner.
This is an exceptionally interesting image, and provides an uncommon opportunity to understand the selection and display of natural history specimens in a nineteenth-century setting. The variety of animals on display is particularly notable, with animals ranging from several big cats to a beaver. Numerous birds are displayed, and although many of the smaller birds are perhaps too indistinct to be firmly identified, there is certainly at least one penguin and several other well-known species can clearly be distinguished. The way in which the specimens are displayed, and particularly the fact that all of the glass doors are open and several pieces of laboratory equipment are casually arranged, strongly suggests that this is more than a simple snapshot.
Unfortunately the author of the note on the back of the photograph has not specified the museum, which remains a tantalising mystery. It can be confidently asserted that it is the right wall of the room: the author originally wrote "gauche", but realising the error, has struck it out and added "droit". It may never be possible to discover the location of the collection, which is likely that of a natural history museum, perhaps attached to a university or teaching facility; having said that, it may even be the rooms of a dealer.

Price (AUD): $2,750.00  other currencies     Ref: #3812993

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