Collecting birds of paradise
by Cinnamon Van Reyk
One of the foundation objects of the National Museum of Australia's collection is an ornamental case containing birds of paradise inherited as part of the Australian Institute of Anatomy collection that was transferred to the Museum in 1981. An investigation of the birds of paradise case's provenance shows an object's life cycle as it metamorphoses from an object demonstrating social status, to an object of curiosity placed in the foyer of a scientific institution, to an object rich in social history. The case can be placed in the broader history of collecting, including the National Museum's history, and the Western desire to classify and control the world through taxidermy.
Birds of paradise case, 1913
photograph by Dean McNicoll
National Museum of Australia
One of the earliest objects acquired by the National Museum of Australia is an ornamental wooden and glass case containing birds of paradise specimens. The case was inherited as part of the Australian Institute of Anatomy collection that was transferred to the Museum in 1981. It originally belonged to Traugott Carl Louis Rudolf Schneider of Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour. Cabinets of curiosity that contained antiquities, curious collectibles and taxidermy specimens were an important part of the middle-class Victorian era interior in Australia. In commissioning the case, Schneider was conforming to the social conventions of the gentleman collector. His choice of birds of paradise was a theatrical reference to his business connections in German New Guinea, the North German Lloyd shipping company, and his German origins.
A detailed exploration of the case's provenance provides an insight into the life cycle of this object and how it has evolved many times, from a signifier of social status, to an unfashionable and illegal object, to a curiosity out of place in a scientific institution, and recently to an object rich in social history within a history museum. The case can be placed in the broader context of European natural history collecting, the Western desire to control the world through classification and taxidermy, and the ways in which gentlemen of the late Victorian and early Edwardian era demonstrated their status through such items of interior decoration.
The National Museum of Australia's birds of paradise case contains four specimens from the family Paradisaeidae: the Raggiana bird of paradise Paradisaea raggiana
(Sclater, 1873), two magnificent riflebirds Ptiloris magnificus
(Vieillot, 1819), two king birds of paradise Cicinnurus regius
(Linnaeus, 1758), two lesser birds of paradise Paradisaea minor
(Shaw, 1809) and a magnificent bird of paradise Cicinnurus magnificus
The origins of the birds of paradise case
Traugott Carl Louis Rudolf Schneider, generally known as Rudolf Schneider, was born in 1864 in Salzwedel, Germany. In 1883, aged 19 and with little money to support himself, he migrated to Sydney. Over 2000 Germans arrived in that year, one of the highest levels of German migration between 1874 and 1910.[2
] At that time Australia was widely perceived as a 'workers' paradise', where accumulation of land and wealth was possible and religious freedom could be enjoyed.[3
] German migrants who settled in Sydney were easily assimilated into the community owing to their relatively small number, their Christian religion and their suitability for employment in business or as skilled artisans.[4
Naturalised in 1886, Schneider quickly established himself in Sydney society. According to his great-great nephews, his connections with high society in Sydney included being an original board member of Taronga Zoo and helping establish Jenolan caves as a tourist destination.[5
] He was also a valued member of the North German Lloyd shipping company, which operated in conjunction with the German New Guinea Company, providing supplies to German ships that were trading in German New Guinea. North German Lloyd was officially responsible for the legal export of birds of paradise collected in German New Guinea for scientific research, museum collections, and the millinery trade. The high level of demand for the millinery trade saw the export of thousands of birds from New Guinea and there was a growing fear of the birds' extinction.[6
] Hunting licences were introduced to prevent the birds from being hunted into extinction. Other strategies included the implementation of closed seasons, restricted hunting areas and a regulated export industry via North German Lloyd.
Schneider's link with North German Lloyd was the reason for his acquiring some birds of paradise specimens. In 1903 he married Iris Bartels, the daughter of a German migrant and former Adelaide mayor, Adolph Bartels, who was related to the prominent German Australian painter Hans Heysen, providing evidence of Schneider's middle class connections.[7
] As a wedding present, German plantation owners associated with North German Lloyd shipping company presented Schneider with some birds of paradise specimens.[8
] Others he acquired himself, either through a dealer, the company, or during a visit to German New Guinea. All of the birds featured in the National Museum's case, except the magnificent riflebird (which inhabits the lowland rainforests of Papua and far north-eastern Australia), can be found in the former German colonial territory. [9
Birds of paradise within the history of European collecting and classifying
For centuries, birds of paradise were traded in South-East Asia; but it is not till the sixteenth century that an exchange of birds from Asia to Europe was recorded. For hundreds of years before the European trade, Indonesian traders and hunters had an economic system of reciprocal arrangements with Indigenous people in New Guinea, a tradition that continues today (although export and trade is now illegal in Papua, Irian Jaya and Indonesia).[10
] The locals in New Guinea provided access to hunting grounds, allowing Indonesian traders to hunt, collect and prepare skins. Alternatively, the New Guineans would trade goods in exchange for birds of paradise skins that they had already prepared.[11
] The first European recorded exchange of Paradisaeidae specimens was a gift from the King of Bachian, now the Moluccan Islands of Indonesia, to the King of Spain in December 1521.[12
Until the late nineteenth century, specimens were prepared with wings and feet missing to exaggerate the beauty of the plumes. These 'trade skins', as they were known, gave rise to a myth that the live birds were missing these appendages. The Europeans believed that without wings the birds must have occupied an earthly paradise, living, eating, mating and nesting in perpetual flight. This misconception led to the birds being named the 'birds of paradise'. The perpetual flight myth was debunked by European naturalists at the end of the sixteenth century, yet the name 'birds of paradise' persisted. The natural habitat of the birds is restricted to the Moluccas, New Guinea and Cape York. Considering the great natural beauty of these tropical regions it still rings true that these birds dwell in an earthly paradise, although not in the way early naturalists imagined.
The 'father of modern taxonomy', Carl Linnaeus (1707–78), was most likely the first naturalist to correctly classify the birds of paradise family Paradisaeidae within the taxonomic system that he developed which links the birds to the European tradition of collecting and classifying the natural world. Linnaeus named several species within the family Paradisaeidae, including the king bird of paradise (Cicinnurus regius
), two examples of which are represented in the Museum's case.[13
] Scientific classification systems were in place before the 1735 publication of Linnaeus's seminal work Systema Naturae, but his binominal system created a consistent hierarchy. This included a naming convention that dictated that all living things have their genus and species forming the first part of their name, and a system that demonstrated relationships between species.[14
] Before the introduction of the binomial system, the use of common names was language specific, relationships were inconsistent, and cross-referencing classifications between different scientific communities was fraught. The use of Latin in the binomial system created a 'universal' scientific language and enabled the Linnaean classification to be used across different countries and cultures.[15
] Another significant feature of the Linnaean binomial nomenclature system was the grouping of species according to morphological characteristics that suggested a similar ancestry.
Cyclically, Linnaean taxonomy opened up the possibility of classifying all things discoverable on earth, which fed the already existing European scientific desire to attempt encyclopaedic collecting of the natural world. Classification and collection was symptomatic of a desire to commodify the natural world, and supported the human desire to achieve mastery over living things.[16
] Scientific taxidermy enabled this control, because the specimens could be studied at length in research facilities and museums, safely distanced from the wilds of the unpredictable natural world.
The way trade skins were prepared by early traders, whereby skins were often stretched and distorted unnaturally during the drying process, meant there was lack of uniformity in appearance and size, even among specimens of the same species. This led to further misunderstandings in classification of the birds, including perceived hybridity, or interbreeding, among species. These mistakes only began to be remedied once birds of paradise were observed and collected by naturalists in the field.
Alfred Russell Wallace (1823–1913), famous for his work with evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin, was the first European to witness the birds' courtship displays. He is also credited with bringing the first live specimens of birds of paradise back to England. In his 1869 publication The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-utan and the Bird of Paradise ...
, Wallace records in detail his capture of specimens of the king bird of paradise and the magnificent bird of paradise.[17
] The birds adapted easily to new environments and fared well in captivity on a diet slightly varied from their wild one.[18
] Wallace's success was quickly emulated by other naturalists in Europe. The Malay Archipelago
detailed his field discoveries and travel adventures, inspiring many European naturalists to undertake their own field research on birds of paradise. Other major field-based collectors operating in New Guinea from the late 1850s to the 1930s included CBH von Rosenberg and naturalist Luigi D'Albertis, whose publications also inspired others to discover, collect and classify these birds.[19
Government-sponsored and private German scientific collecting from the colonies occurred in the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, relatively late in the colonial era. Prior to organised government collecting, explorers and traders were the main source of birds of paradise skins.[20
] German government collecting, conducted through companies such as North German Lloyd, was integral to the formation of government-sponsored museum ethnographic and natural history collections, such as those of the Hamburgische Museum für Völkerkunde and the Seckenberg Museum in Frankfurt.[21
] These collections were considered proof of the 'cartographic claims' of the European coloniser, physical evidence of government's colonial expansion.[22
] The early collections satisfied the curiosity and scientific interest of a German public hungry for information about the new colonies in the Southern Hemisphere.
This interest encouraged private collectors, including Johann Cesar VI Godeffroy, head of the Hamburg shipping and trading firm, JC Godeffroy und Sohn.[23
] Godeffroy instructed his ship captains to collect material for his private museum and he also retained collectors in the South Pacific. These included the eminent German biologist Amalie Dietrich, who conducted field work in New Guinea and Australia, and who worked for Godeffroy for 10 years. In her time, Dietrich's collections were considered to be the largest and most important of those amassed by a single person.[24
] In 1861, after a 'cluttered warehouse' was no longer sufficient to store his vast collection, Godeffroy established a research museum.[25
] Scientists the world over were invited to visit and even to borrow specimens for further study. They were encouraged to publish their findings in Godeffroy's publication, the Journal des Museum Godeffroy
] When Dietrich returned from Australia, Godeffroy gave her a position in his museum. After Godeffroy's death in 1885, the museum was taken over by the City of Hamburg as a public museum. Dietrich remained an employee until her death in 1891.
Lord Rothschild, obsessive collector of birds of paradise
Throughout the history of European scientific collecting there are many other examples of government-funded museums benefiting from the transfers and bequests of gentlemen collectors. One of the best known is the bequest of Sir Hans Sloane, whose vast collection became the foundation of the British Museum in 1753. Another private collector whose bequest benefited the British Museum is Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild.
Rothschild provides an outstanding nineteenth-century example of the acquisitive gentleman connoisseur collector participating in the collecting fever that affected the middle and upper classes in the mid to late nineteenth century. He is remembered as the largest single donor to the British Museum of Natural History since its establishment.[27
] Scientific interest in classification and collection encouraged a domestic desire for personal collections and displays as a marker of wealth and intelligence. This desire was often manifested in the commissioning of objects like the birds of paradise case to be incorporated into home interior decoration.
Rothschild had grander ideas, stretching far beyond a single cabinet of curiosity and a handful of mantelpiece curios. From the age of seven he wanted to have his own museum. This vision was easily realised through 'access to tremendous family fortune'.[28
] Rothschild was the eldest son of Nathan Mayer Rothschild, who established NM Rothschild & Sons in 1810, which remains one of the world's foremost investment banks.[29
] The Rothschilds had risen from the ghettos in Germany to become successful merchants, but suffered persecution and exile from Germany because of their Jewish religion. Today they are known as one of the wealthiest family dynasties in Europe.[30
] With access to the almost unlimited wealth of his father, Rothschild was able to satisfy his collecting passion, acquiring vast numbers of live and stuffed fauna from around the world. In 1892, aged 24, after a mutual agreement between father and son that he was not suited for the world of banking, Walter Rothschild opened a natural history museum at Tring in Hertfordshire, some 50 kilometres from London. His collection was one of the largest private natural history collections in the world, containing, among other things, over 300,000 beetles, 2,500,000 butterflies and moths, and 200,000 birds eggs.[31
Rothschild was considered an eccentric character, an image confirmed by a famous photograph that shows him astride one of his giant tortoises, and the common sight of him driving his team of zebras he trained as buggy horses down Piccadilly. His reputation was damaged by newspaper reports of unhappy encounters between some of the larger birds and marsupials and young visitors to his zoo. Birds of paradise were among Rothschild's most treasured taxidermy collections and he employed a 'worldwide web of collectors' to obtain specimens.[32
] The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum housed 'the most comprehensive collection of birds of paradise ... in private hands'. The more adventurous of his collectors worked in the field, while others primarily negotiated with dealers.[34
] As Hannah Rothschild, Walter's great grandniece, recently explained:
a normal roster of employees in one year included Albert Meek, who was looking for birds in the Louisade Archipelago and in Queensland, Captain Gifford on the Gold Coast, Dr Doherty in the Sula Islands, Mr Everett in Timor; two Japanese men in Guam and Mr Waterstrade in Lirung.
Unfortunately for Rothschild, in 1937 his beloved collection of birds of paradise became a victim of circumstances when he had to sell it in its entirety in order to pay off a blackmailer.[36
] This collection is now held in the Whitney Wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Rothschild died five years after the sale. He bequeathed his remaining museum collection to the British Museum of Natural History, the transfer occurring after the Second World War. Rothschild's museum was reopened in the 1970s as the Natural History Museum at Tring and continues to operate as an arm of the British Museum of Natural History.
Despite a lack of academic qualifications Rothschild's contribution to zoological science saw him identifying a diverse range of species, from giraffes to millipedes. In 1898 he published, in German, Paradiseidae
, a study of 25 species of bird of paradise including the three he identified and named, Astrapia splendidissima
, Paradigalla brevicauda
and Parotia wahnesi Rothschild
. Overall, Rothschild and his curators described 5000 new species in their 1700 published books and papers.[37
] Rothschild employed zoological curators Ernst Hartert and Karl Jordan and together, over a 45-year period, they produced the scientific journal, Novitates Zoologicae
, and numerous other publications.[38
How a case of taxidermy birds of paradise comes into the home
Most gentlemen collectors of the late Victorian era, like Rudolf Schneider, did not aspire to, nor could they afford, their own private museum.[39
] Most, Schneider included, were satisfied with displaying their collections of flora and fauna in cabinets in their private houses, alongside other taxidermy specimens, ethnographic material and antiquities. As early as the 1830s, many Australian colonists with the means to do so were adorning their domestic spaces with tasteful furniture, expensive drapery and curios.[40
] By the late nineteenth century, cases of taxidermy were regarded as markers of social status.[41
The collection and display of taxidermy display cases and curios were part of a Victorian attempt to 'domesticate the exotic' and secure the past through objects. The home became a 'microcosm of the totality of the world' outside and of the past, neatly controlled and displayed in cases for safe contemplation and consideration of one's place in the world.[42
] For Schneider the case and its accompanying curios would have encapsulated his business connections and German heritage in a material way.
The placement of the domesticated exotic object within the home was of vital importance and Schneider conformed to expectations. A 1929 family photograph indicates that the birds of paradise case was displayed prominently in the Schneider family's dining room, with a taxidermy eagle perched on top, along with other 'island curios' Schneider had collected from German New Guinea. The dining room and corridor in the Victorian era were public spaces within the home, stages for enacting the role of middle class collector. Large display cases were generally placed in dining rooms, while stuffed birds of prey or mounted heads of game animals were assigned to corridors. This public positioning would have reassured visitors to the Schneider home they were entering the home of a man of substance.
In consideration of Schneider's desire to emphasise his connections to Germany, his choices of collectibles reveal a flair for showmanship. Not only were birds of paradise highly prized objects at this time, they provided a visual connection for Schneider's visitors to the birds' exotic land of origin and therefore his business connections with German New Guinea through the North German Lloyd shipping company. The most highly represented species in the case is the lesser bird of paradise, sometimes mistakenly identified as the Empress of Germany's bird of paradise. The inclusion of so many examples of this bird is perhaps evidence that Schneider also made this common error, thinking that they were yet another link to his country of origin. It was quite common for new species of birds of paradise to be named after monarchs. The magnificent riflebird, also represented in the case, was formerly known as Albert's riflebird, after Queen Victoria's consort. Schneider's guests might well have inquired about the birds and been treated to an explanation of their names and origins. As Chris Gosden and Chantal Knowles suggest, 'The deep mutual involvement of people and things means that much social life is achieved through objects and is influenced by the qualities and properties of those objects'. Conversation between Schneider and his visitors around his birds of paradise cabinet would have reinforced both parties' place in the social hierarchy.
In the 1890s, the consumption of the taxidermy industry was 'gendered'. Taxidermy, which was already linked to established traditions of women doing 'fancy work' or craft involving needle and thread, become an increasingly acceptable profession for women. In addition, particular products were created for specific genders. So popular were these products with Victorian consumers that, as curator and historian Martha Sear reveals, entrepreneurial Sydney women such as mother and daughter team Jane Tost and Ada Jane Coates were able to support their families through their taxidermy businesses after their husbands had died.[46
] These women were pioneers in the business in Sydney. By the 1890s, though, they had many other female competitors.[47
Because of the dominance of women in the trade, Schneider's specimens were probably mounted by a woman. Russell Belk, in his 1995 publication Collecting in a Consumer Society
, suggests that distinctions between men's and women's taxidermy styles reveal that women were considered mere consumers, collecting fashion and decorative items, but men were serious
collectors, interested in more intellectual contemplation.[48
] Schneider's case reveals the quasi-scientific or museological style of display popular among gentlemen, as the birds are in their courtship postures and are mounted on tree branches.
Wedding of Grete Schneider and Werner Glockemann at 'Glenferrie', Sydney, 7 December 1929
courtesy Arno and Leo Glockemann
Schneider died in 1929, and is therefore absent from the photograph taken on the occasion of his daughter Grete's wedding breakfast in December of that year. His memory lived on in the birds of paradise case, which became part of the 'family portrait'.[49
] But not for too long: in 1931, two years after his death, Schneider's family sold his collection of curiosities to a neighbour in Wollstonecraft, WR Carpenter. Schneider's great-nephews say that part of the reason the case was sold was Iris Schneider's concern over the 1916 Australian ban on the importation of and trade in skins and plumes of birds of paradise.[50
] The public outcry over the trade in bird skins that resulted in the slaughter of millions of birds made such items increasingly unpopular and this, combined with changes in domestic interior fashion, meant that cases such as this no longer featured in respectable homes. In retrospect it is fortunate that the case was sold when it was, as the Schneiders were interned during the Second World War and the family had to sell most of their possessions to cope with the resultant financial difficulties. The case could have gone to an antique dealer and the family would have lost their connection to the object. As it happened, it soon became part of a government collection.
In 1935 Carpenter informed the Commonwealth that he wished to bequeath his house and its contents to the Australian Government, hoping that the case would become part of a museum collection. The offer was accepted and the case was transferred via the Department of Health to the Australian Institute of Anatomy. The Australian Institute of Anatomical Research had been established by the orthopaedist and comparative anatomist William Colin MacKenzie in 1919 to collect specimens of Australian animals. Aware that populations of various native species were rapidly declining, MacKenzie hoped that collecting and preserving examples of native animals would allow future scientific study.[51
] In 1924, MacKenzie, too, had offered his collection of specimens to the Australian Government, whose response was to establish the National Museum of Australian Zoology, which in turn became the Australian Institute of Anatomy (AIA) in 1931.
Members of the extended Schneider family, interned during the Second World War, including (back right) Grete and Werner Glockemann, at Tatura internment camp, 4 December 1943
In 1935 MacKenzie, now Sir Colin MacKenzie, expressed an interest in the birds of paradise case, which was accordingly transferred to the institute.[52
] As the individual specimens did not have scientific interest, they remained intact inside the case rather than being individually classified and kept in storage. The specimens were not endangered then, nor are they endangered today. Despite the huge trade in birds of paradise skins in the late nineteenth century, the impact on bird populations was surprisingly low. This is because the mature adult males are the most beautiful and the most prized. The survival of the species is assured since polygamous young males reach breeding maturity before their plumes achieve their full length. Even if the birds were rare, the specimens in the Museum's case would still have had little scientific value as the skins were not prepared by scientists and therefore their shape and size have most probably been distorted to meet the needs of display. Placed in the foyer, the case was nevertheless well suited to act as an introduction to the main exhibits at the Australian Institute of Anatomy, as its wood and glass design was similar to the institute cases, and the birds were mounted in their courtship postures in a quasi-scientific way. Today the case is in excellent condition, suggesting that it was valued by institute staff and visitors during its foyer display.
In 1975, the government-sponsored investigation into the state of Australia's historical collections of national significance, generally known as the Pigott report, after its chair, recommended the formation of the National Museum of Australia.[53
] The first two major collections to become part of the National Historical Collection were the MacKenzie collection of biological specimens and the ethnographic collections from the Australian Institute of Anatomy. The birds of paradise case was transferred to the Museum with the other institute collections. Because of its history as a foyer object, isolated from the main collection, the case languished for many years in the tearoom of one of the Museum's repositories where it became a favourite among Museum collection staff.[54
In Museums and the Future of Collecting, Simon Knell suggests that 'unlike archival materials, objects are not good at retaining information'. Although objects often contain indications of their age and use, these details cannot reveal a complete history of association, ownership, or the role the object played in someone's life. Fortunately, Schneider's descendants tracked the movement of the case from Carpenter's collection to the Institute of Anatomy and then to the National Museum. Schneider's daughter wrote to the Institute in 1967 and to the Museum in 1993 explaining her connection to the case and revealing its history. Schneider's grandsons and great-grandson have retained this family knowledge and have helped untangle the object's history.
Because of this well-established provenance, its history as part of the first collections collected by the National Museum of Australia, and its aesthetic and curiosity value, the object is now acknowledged to be one of the National Museum's key pieces and featured in the exhibition Captivating and Curious in 2005
, which celebrated the Museum's 25-year collecting history. The key messages of the exhibition were to convey the changing value of objects over time, to show how personal histories are woven into the fabric of national histories and illustrate the role of institutional collecting in forming 'practical memory'.[57
Tracking the life cycle of the birds of paradise case from a dining room object to a key part of the National Museum's collection provides insight into how the significance of objects can change over time. When the case was the prized possession of Schneider, it communicated his status to his visitors and represented the role of the North German Lloyd company in colonial German New Guinea. As an exemplar of the gendered symbolism imbued in taxidermy, it allows us to consider the embodied object's role in the Victorian domestic interior. The case was a common middle class object in its day, an object so bound within the taste of its time that within a few years it had become unpopular and irrelevant, not to mention the product of an illegal activity. As part of Carpenter's collection the case changed from a common household object to a curio, a collectible representative of a past era.
When an individual collector such as Schneider or Carpenter dies, their collections often lose their provenance as associated memory fades, objects get resold at auction, collections are broken up and dispersed. In this stage of the life cycle of the object as antique it can gain a market and aesthetic value; but without the stories behind them they paradoxically lose their museum value. The continued association of the Schneider family with the case is unusual. Normally such associations are gathered at the point of acquisition, for, as Knell puts it, 'retrospective collecting does not allow for the phenomena of social amnesia'.[58
] As part of the Australian Institute of Anatomy the case became designated a curiosity of a bygone era without scientific value. Now, as part of the National Museum of Australia's collections it is a rarely scene example of a provenanced Victorian-era cabinet with specimens collected by the owner. As a social history museum object it is taken out of the 'mechanism of the market', loses its illegal status and becomes a 'candid witness of social change, expressing common humanity and errors', enabling us to reflect on an era when the slaughter of birds was considered appropriate for the creation of fashion items or for cabinet displays signifying social status.[59
There are many objects like this in the National Museum's collection that allow different levels of interpretation and historical discussion, the passage of time enriching the value of their sometimes accidental preservation. Many travel through a life cycle similar to that of the birds of paradise case, with a middle period where the object is unfashionable, or devalued by its own popularity. Hoarding, sentimentality, recognition of significance and mere serendipity create situations where some objects are preserved. Provenance and associated research create opportunities in the museum context to reveal some of these stories to the public. The birds of paradise case is an example of how such serendipity has enriched the National Museum's collections.
This paper has been independently peer-reviewed.
1 This paper is based on a presentation at the University of Tasmania's July 2007 conference, Imperial Curiosities.
2 Charles Meyer, A History of Germans in Australia: 1839–1945, Monash University, Victoria, 1990, p. 20.
3 On religious freedom, economic and political factors, see Meyer, History of Germans in Australia, p. 8; Jurgen Tampke (ed.), Wunderbar Country: Germans Look at Australia, 1850–1914, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney 1982, pp. 11–16. Australia was, however, only a destination for 10 per cent of the German emigrants, with the United States, Canada and Brazil the top three destinations.
4 Meyer, History of Germans in Australia, p. 20.
5 Interviews with Leo and Arno Glockemann, April 2007.
6 Pamela Swadling, Plumes from Paradise, Papua New Guinea National Museum, Port Moresby, 1996, pp. 219–57.
7 Hans Heysen married Iris's sister Selma Bartels the following year.
8 Letter from Grete Glockemann to Officer in Charge, Australian Institute of Anatomy, Folio 6, NMA file 89/408; Letter from Grete Glockemann to David Kaus, Folio 11, ibid.
9 Clifford Frith & Bruce Beehlar, The Birds of Paradise: Paradisaeidae, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998, pp. 35, 222–3, 238–9, 317, 409, 441, 457.
10 Simon Sinaga, 'Unchecked illegal trade goes on in Birds of Paradise', Jakarta Post, 6 December 2001, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2001/06/12/unchecked-illegal-trade-goes-birds-paradise.html.
11 Swadling, Plumes from Paradise, p. 220.
12 Tom Iredale, Birds of Paradise and Bower Birds, Georgian House, Melbourne, 1950, p. 7.
13 Frith & Beehlar, Birds of Paradise, p. 48.
14 Ernst Mayr, Principles of Systematic Zoology, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1969, p. 2; George Gaylord Simpson, Principles of Animal Taxonomy, Columbia University Press, New York, 1961, p. 29.
15 From 1895, the adoption of the International Rule for Zoological Nomenclature by the International Zoological Congress has continued to refine taxonomy. George Gaylord Simpson, 'The principles of classification and a classification of mammals', Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, vol. 85, 1945, 1–350.
16 Beth Fowkes Tobin, Colonizing Nature: The Tropics in British Arts and Letters, 1760–1820, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2005, p. 193.
17 Alfred Russell Wallace, The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-utan, and the Bird of Paradise: A Narrative of Travel, with Studies of Man and Nature, vol. II, Macmillan and Co., London, 1869.
18 Stephen T Asma, Stuffed animals and pickled heads. The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001, p23.
19 CBH Rosenbert, Reistochten naar de Geelvinkbaai op Nieuw-Guinea in de Jaren 1869 en 1870, Martinus Nijhoff, Gravenshage, 1875; LM D'Albertis, New Guinea : What I Did and What I Saw, S Lowe, Marston, Searle & Rivington, London, 1880.
20 Frith & Beehlar, Birds of Paradise, pp. 31–6.
21 Michael O'Hanlon & Robert L Welsch (eds), Hunting the Gatherers: Ethnographic Collectors, Agents and Agency in Melanesia 1870s–1930s, Berghahn Books, New York and Oxford, 2000, pp. 55–65.
22 Rebecca Duclos 'The cartographies of collecting', in Simon J Knell (ed.), Museums and the Future of Collecting, Ashgate, Aldershot, Hampshire, 1999, p. 53.
23 Ulrich Luttge (ed.), Amalie Dietrich (1821–1891). German Biologist in Australia, Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Stuttgart, Federal Republic of Germany, 1988, p. 9.
24 Florence Mann Spoehr, White Falcon: The House of Godeffroy and its Commercial and Scientific Role in the Pacific, Pacific Books, California, 1963, p. vi.
25 Neal L Evenhuis, 'The Godeffroy Museum catalogs in relation to Fiji terrestrial arthropods: Part I: Introduction and review of Myriapoda, Diptera, Odonata, and smaller Hexapod orders', in Neal L Evenhuis & Daniel J Bickel (eds), Fiji Arthropods VII, Bishop Museum Occasional Papers, no. 91, 2007, 17–28, p. 19, http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/pubs-online/bmop.html.
26 Mann Spoehr, White Falcon, p. 28.
27 'Walter Rothschild makes a museum', Natural History Museum, 17 March 2008, www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/news/2008/march/walter-rothschild-makes-a-museum18620.html, accessed June 2008; British Museum Bill, Hansard, 5 July 1938.
28 Hannah Rothschild, The Butterfly Effect, Bonhams Magazine, no. 18, Spring 2009, p. 21.
Rothschild, www.rothschild.com, accessed 2009; 'NM Rothschild & Sons', http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N_M_Rothschild_&_Sons, site accessed March 2010. The Rothschild 'rags to riches' story is presented in detail by Derek Wilson in Rothschild: A Story of Wealth and Power, Andre Deutsch Limited, London, 1988..
30 Wilson, Rothschild, pp. 430, 436–7, 455.
Biography of Walter Rothschild, http://www.nhm.ac.uk/tring/history-collections/walter-rothschild-biography/index.html, Site accessed from 2008. and Miriam Rothschild, Dear Lord Rothschild. Birds butterflies and History, London, 1998, p107.
32 Miriam Rothschild, Dear Lord Rothschild: Birds, Butterflies and History, Hutchinson, London, 1983, p. 154; Frith & Beehler, Birds of Paradise.
33 Frith & Beehler, Birds of Paradise, p. 36.
34 Miriam Rothschild, Dear Lord Rothschild, p. 154; Frith & Beehler, Birds of Paradise, pp. 155–7.
35 Hannah Rothschild, 'The butterfly effect'.
36 Miriam Rothschild, Dear Lord Rothschild, p. 59.
37 'History of the collections', Natural History Museum at Tring website, http://www.nhm.ac.uk/tring/history-collections/history-of-the-collections/index.html, accessed 2009.
39 Although the case was evidently commissioned in the Edwardian era, it would be more accurate to classify Schneider as late Victorian, since the fashions of the Edwardian period were a few years in reaching Australia from Europe.
40 Linda Young, Middle-Class Culture in the Nineteenth Century: America, Australia and Britain, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2003, p. 177.
41 John Crosby Freeman, Victorian Style: An Alphabetical Compendium of Design, Crafts, Ideas and More, Five Mile Press, Balwyn, Victoria, 1993, pp. 44, 143.
42 Didier Maleuvre talks about 'domesticating the exotic' in Museum Memories: History, Technology, Art, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1999, p. 115; see also Fowkes Tobin, Colonizing Nature, p. 193.
43 Grete Glockemann writes of 'island curios such as spears, masks, weapons, etc.', letter to Officer in Charge, Australian Institute of Anatomy, 1967, folio 6, NMA file 89/408, National Museum of Australia.
Paradisaea raggiana augustavictoriae (D'Albertis, New Guinea). Princess Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein (1858–1921) was the last German Empress and Queen of Prussia. See also Frith & Beehlar, Birds of Paradise, pp. 458, 505; Iredale, Birds of Paradise and Bower Birds, pp. 126–7, 130, 131.
45 Gosden & Knowles, Collecting Colonialism, p. 23.
46 Martha Sear, 'Curious and Peculiar? Women taxidermists in Colonial Australia', in Joan Kerr & Jo Holden (eds) Past Present: The National Women's Art Anthology, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1999, p. 85.
47 ibid., p. 87.
48 Russell W Belk,
Collecting in a Consumer Society
, Routledge, London, 1995, p. 41. Belk cites 'Remy G Saisselin, Bricabracomania: The Bourgeois and the Bibelot, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1984, p. 68.
49 Jean Baudrillard, Revenge of the Crystal: Selected Writings on the Modern Object and its Destiny, 1968–1983, ed. and trans. by Paul Foss & Julian Pefaris, Pluto Press Australia, Sydney p. 36.
50 Interviews with Leo and Arno Glockemann, 2009.
51 Guy Hansen, 'Collecting for a nation', in Captivating and Curious, exhibition catalogue, National Museum of Australia Press, Canberra, 2005, p. 9.
52 Letter to Hon T Paterson, Folio 2, NMA file 89/408, National Museum of Australia.
Museums in Australia 1975: Report of the Committee of Inquiry on Museums and National Collections including the Report of the Planning Committee on the Gallery of Aboriginal Australia, Australian Government Printing Service, Canberra, 1975. On the national distributed collection, see Knell (ed.), Museums and the Future of Collecting, p. 40.
54 This fate might seem ignominious for what was once a prized object. However, when you consider the case's original purpose, as a conversation piece in a setting where food is consumed and gossip exchanged, it seems fitting that it continued to fulfil this role until sometime in the 1990s.
55 Knell (ed.), Museums and the Future of Collecting, pp. 29–30.
56 Letter from Grete Glockemann to Officer in Charge, Australian Institute of Anatomy, Folio 6, NMA file 89/408; Letter from Grete Glockemann to David Kaus, Folio 11, ibid.
57 Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project, trans. by Howard Eiland & Kevin McLaughlin, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999, p. 205.
58 Knell (ed.), Museums and the Future of Collecting, p. 37; folios 11 and 7, NMA file 89/408, National Museum of Australia.
59 Knell (ed.), Museums and the Future of Collecting, p. 37; Gaynor Kavanagh, History Curatorship, Leicester University Press, 1990, p. 5.