For more than a century have enjoyed the exotic collections of Frederick Horniman


Mr. Horniman’s Walrus: Legacies of a Exceptional Victorian Household

by Clare Paterson (Michael O’Mara £20, 272pp) 

In 1886, one of many star points of interest of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in Kensington was a stuffed walrus. Queen Victoria visited the exhibition and admired it. 

It might have been the primary time she’d seen a walrus. It was most likely additionally the primary one the beast’s taxidermists had come throughout. Unaware {that a} walrus’s thick pores and skin is folded in unfastened layers, they’d ironed out its wrinkles and offered a surprisingly glossy, easy creature. 

The tea service provider Frederick Horniman was so impressed that he purchased it when the exhibition closed. It may nonetheless be seen as we speak on the Horniman Museum in South London. For greater than a century, guests have loved the collections of the ­Horniman with out realizing a lot in regards to the household after which it’s named. On this pleasant, guide, Clare Paterson seems on the lives of three generations of Hornimans. 

In 1886, one of many star points of interest of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in Kensington was a stuffed walrus, which Queen Victoria admired

Born in 1803, John Horniman was the founding father of the household’s fortunes. His father — ‘that uncommon fowl, a drunken Quaker’, as one historian described him — died aged 41. His mom shortly launched into a second marriage to a widower with two daughters. 

John’s enterprise profession was initially a chequered one. He was a grocer in Birmingham, a cheese service provider in Somerset, and a draper in Northampton. 

At one level he was bankrupt, forged out of his Quaker neighborhood. 

Nevertheless, in center age, he come across the one concept that made him a really rich man. He determined to promote tea. As an alternative of promoting unfastened tea, he would provide it in foil-lined sealed packets to ensure its purity. This was an instantaneous success. 

Horniman’s Tea was quickly acquainted in each family within the nation. Adverts appeared exhibiting Gladstone, Florence Nightingale and a then well-known preacher named Charles Spurgeon. John’s son, Frederick, the walrus purchaser, inherited the household enterprise and fortune. An enthusiastic collector from youth, his cash enabled him to splash out. 

Mr. Horniman¿s Walrus: Legacies of a Remarkable Victorian Family by Clare Paterson (Michael O¿Mara £20, 272pp)

Mr. Horniman’s Walrus: Legacies of a Exceptional Victorian Household by Clare Paterson (Michael O’Mara £20, 272pp)

An inventory of different gadgets he purchased from the Colonial And Indian Exhibition (‘Bombay prayer mats, carved daggers… a life-sized mannequin of a Burmese man and a Burmese woman… a bronze Hindu deity, and Queensland moths and butterflies in a case’) offers some indication of his vary of pursuits. 

By 1883, his assortment was already so big it required a full-time curator to take care of it. In the course of the yr 1890, 40,000 individuals acquired an invite from Horniman to examine his huge cupboard of curiosities. 

His spouse gave him an ultimatum. Now not might hundreds of holiday makers traipse by way of the marital residence. A museum was constructed which Horniman ultimately donated to the London County Council in 1901. Frederick’s daughter, Annie, was, in Paterson’s phrases, ‘a crop-haired, chainsmoking, bloomer-sporting bicycle owner with an impartial mindset’. As a younger girl, she had ambitions to be an artist. She was drawn to the occult and joined the legendary Order Of The Golden Daybreak till she fell out with its more and more bizarre founder, MacGregor Mathers. She claimed to make common astral journeys by way of time and house. 

After Frederick’s loss of life in 1906, his daughter got here into her personal, reaching the landmarks in theatre historical past for which she is finest remembered. 

She used her inheritance to fund the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, till she fell out with its different backers. She established the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester, which performed a number one function within the promotion of latest drama within the 1910s. 

Right this moment, Horniman’s Tea is essentially a reputation from the previous. The model, which (curiously) stays standard is Spain, has lengthy disappeared from the cabinets of British outlets. 

Nevertheless, as Clare Paterson makes clear, the Horniman household itself shouldn’t be forgotten. 

Share post:


More like this

Mila Kunis takes the plunge as she shows off knockout pins at Luckiest Girl Alive premiere

Mila Kunis flashed her cleavage on the New...

Michelle Obama Rocks Stilettos At Dinner With Bruce Springsteen: Photos – Hollywood Life

View gallery Michelle Obama isn’t slowing down her NYC...

Rex Airlines ups the ante on Qantas in fly-in-fly-out market

Rex Airways has finalised its acquisition of fly-in-fly-out...