Dalziel + Scullion
When viewing the specimens in the D’Arcy Thompson collection we were immediately drawn to the taxidermied presentation of a young chimpanzee. It bore the classic proportions of a very young animal whose head and shoulder proportions, eye and face ratio, are such that most of us are hot wired to respond fondly to. Such emotions are of course conflicted by the mechanical act of preparing such a specimen and the aversion to the now decaying and worn though young face and hands. A duality exists within this century-old youngster whose glass eyes are within sight of its own skull. In our image we extracted the chimp from its glass case and positioned it to gaze upon its perfect skull, evoking the moment when D’Arcy Thompson similarly scrutinised the young primate, a moment recorded in a letter from Thompson to his grandfather dated 7 February 1886:
“I yesterday received a chimpanzee, one of the most manlike of apes: it is the rarest and most valuable specimen I have yet had and it came, like most of the others from Liverpool. One of the young doctors came and helped me to remove its brain at 11 o’clock at night. It was in beautiful condition.”
NB - individual copies of this print are now sold out.
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