Observations: Angolan adventures stuffed and on show


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The Independent Culture

Percy Powell-Cotton ("The Major") was a 19th-century "hunter and collector"; the lion that nearly mauled him to death is displayed here, stuffed, along with a staggering array of other animals, frozen in naturalistic tableaux of attack and retreat. The Major's daughters, Antoinette and Diana, enjoyed a fittingly eccentric childhood, roaming the grounds of Quex House, which, like the museum, is crammed with extravagant objects, ranging from Hindu shrines to Napoleon's clock. But of course the question begs itself: at what price were these riches acquired?

TALA! (meaning "come and see") combines the Powell-Cotton sisters' immense collection of Angolan artefacts with contemporary Angolan artists' work. Among the 3,000 objects hauled back: dolls, butter pots, a "divinity container" filled with bird bones, horns, cocoons, claws, and a hoof.

TALA! Visions of Angola, Powell-Cotton Museum, Birchington, Kent (quexmuseum.org) to 2 November