A visit to the Natural History Museum in London to see the Hummingbird Cabinet
As I drew, I found passers-by were echoing my own reflections. There was much curiousity about these stilled birds, some of which may now be extinct.
they are all real but they are dead… look at these – yes I seen them before … they are all diferent! yeah, that’s what he collected … I LOVE that one … birds after birds after birds after …
teeny weeny birds … look at the nests! … so many of them … superbe!
I was not the only person to crane my neck to look into the case – looking at tiny nests with nestlings, the fine crests and flashes of remaining iridescence from these two hundred year-old birds.
someone just killed a load of hummingbirds … oh my goodness, the size of them, they are tiny! they are all hummingbirds! … as small as butterflies … I feel ever so sorry for those birds … this one is disturbing I have to say .. do you remember this? I came to see it fifty years ago … I don’t know if that is amazing or disgusting … well it’s old isn’t it, a different time … I wonder what colour that would have been when he first saw them … you can see why they put them in hats, can’t you? …
you couldn’t make a sandwich out of that couldya?
I took a break, for lunch.
(This piece forms part of the Fashioning Feathers exhibition at the Royal Alberta Museum in Canada)