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British TaxidermistsHenry Murray

Henry Murray cases discovered in storage

By 20 August 2023April 19th, 2024No Comments

Henry Murray cases discovered in Barrow museum.

The firm of Henry Murray of Carnforth 1872-1961

Henry Murray of Carnforth firm was known for his lovely victorian cases that had beautiful painted scenic lakeland backdrops done in watercolour and gouache.

Henry Murray and Son became one of Britain’s most celebrated taxidermy firms and the cases are sought after today.

Henry Murray cases found dismantled

Barrow in Furness is my home town but I haven’t lived there for 45 years. In the town library there was at one time a museum on the upper floor. I remember it in the 1960’s being full of glass cases with taxidermy. These were acquired by the original Barrow Museum in 1914 from Henry Murray of Carnforth which is not far away from Barrow.

These cases were (wickedly and recklessly!!) dismantled and some of the contents were put into storage in a new museum called “The Dock Museum” in the 1970’s. They’ve never been out on display together since and some of the cases have been dismantled. Gasp.

Henry Murray cases found hidden in storage at the Dock Museum, Barrow

Imagine my delight when I discovered this case of two Golden Eagles by Henry Murray of Carnforth in a pop-up exhibition in 2022 in the town centre. This exhibition focussed on objects and memories from previous eras; things like memories of old dance halls, cinemas and the like.

At the entrance to the exhibition on the wall were displayed three or four cases. Two of them were Henry Murray’s. There was no attempt to explain their significance; that’s because no one knew anything about them, including the two Kakapo in a case by Thomas Pickin of Manchester!! Anyway, I took a couple of pictures and marvelled that they had survived.

The geography and proximity of Barrow to Carnforth explains the possession of these treasures.

Still high from my discovery, I went to see the curator of the Dock Museum and she let me have a look at the store in the back where, to my astonishment, there were stored shelf upon shelf of mounts by Murray.
Not many cases were visible, but there were many mounts on foam stands which had obviously been taken out of their original cases long ago.

These mounts have not been on display as a group in this museum.
None of them are currently on display.

Two Golden Eagles by Henry Murray of Carnforth

photo: Dorne Lovegrove


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