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12 April 2010, JellyBean @ 10:07 am

From the outside, it’s an unremarkable industrial warehouse, home to Duke’s Auction House. But the stench of turpentine marks it out from the other buildings on the Grove Industrial Estate in Dorchester, Dorset. It’s the first clue that inside lurks a haven of Victorian taxidermy.

Step in, and you’ll see a Bengali tiger on its hind legs, 8ft tall, lunging claws-first (and canines first) towards you. Behind him is a peacock, glorious tail splayed behind it.

To the right are three zebras, a camel, baby rhinoceros and seven lions, the lioness twisted on the ground, sinking her incisors into a bloodied antelope. All in all, there are 250 animals, many of which are the treasures of an eccentric 19th-century professor and explorer.

Elsewhere are grotesque figures: shrunken monkey heads on spikes, Siamese lambs conjoined at the head, a velvet coffin with the body of a 16-year-old Congolese boy (complete with an elephant’s head stitched to his corpse), and dozens of glass-eyed waxworks with liver- spotted skin or daggers plunging into their chests.

Oh, and a blue dress once worn by Princess Diana.

Read more and see pics:

Daily Mail

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