Wednesday 20 May 2009

Obscure Victorian Hobbies .2


Would you like to make a 'feather-screen'? Sounds harmless enough? Cassells Household Guide thought such activity 'not beyond ordinary skill, and we have seen some very good ones made by ladies, though the sight of raw flesh, and the necessity of getting over scruples about touching it with the fingers, often deters them from attempting the necessary operations'.
Preparation is everything. First you need 'a good strong penknife, very sharp at the point, a quill pen, a small quantity of flowers of sulphur, arsenical soap, wadding, or cotton wool, or tow, a smooth board, some twine, a darning- needle, some strong pins, a hammer, and some copper bell-wire' and ... well, let's not beat around the bush (ahem) a dead bird.
I wonder how many game (ahem) readers of Cassells gave it a go.


  1. This reminds me of the little vignettes made from stuffed animals that were popular. Interesting, but definitely offputting.

  2. Yes, and there's a good deal about Victorian taxidermy online ... probably more than I care to know. See this on a famous collection of the stuff.