In this blog Ruth Schieferstein, an MLitt Museum Studies student and one of the student curators of the current King’s Museum exhibition Victorian Time: Spirit of the Age, tells us about her object of the month from the exhibition.
I still remember the first time I saw the Hunting Trophy. When I first heard that we were able to get a Victorian hunting trophy, I expected a big deer head or something similar. You cannot imagine my surprise when I saw that the trophy was actually a bird! And what a beautiful bird it is!
It was fascinating for me to find out about hunting in Scotland during the Victorian era. I found out that game birds could only be legally shot by property owners, meaning that hunting was a very exclusive sport. Landowners would arrange big shooting parties for their house guests, like the landowner of Fetteresso, Stonehaven, where this particular bird was shot.
I can imagine that the shooter of this bird must have been very proud of it. The bird is not only a beautiful specimen, but it is also very rare. It is a hybrid between a Black Grouse and a Capercaillie. This kind of hybrid bird usually cannot create offspring so even today you are very lucky to spot one!
The shooter took great care to arrange the bird properly in its display case. He even placed a golden label into the case which defines the bird’s exact species and the time and location in which it was shot. The bird looks proudly at the observer and it is not hard to imagine the drawing room in which the owner proudly displayed the game bird to impress his visitors.
I am very glad that we found this beautiful bird and that we were able to display it. It definitely deserves to be displayed. See it for yourself when you visit the Victorian Time: Spirit of the Age exhibition!
Victorian Time: Spirit of the Age will be displayed in King’s Museum, at the Old Aberdeen Town House. King’s Museum is open weekdays from 10am -4pm and Saturdays 11am -4pm.