LETTER: Beastly spectacle

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The Independent Online
From Mr Phillip Woollard

Sir: During the Second World War, as a child I visited a "Freaks and Monsters" show, which was exhibited in a small tent pitched on a piece of land at Grovesend in Gloucestershire.

The exhibits were of abnormal farm animals including a two-headed calf and a six-legged pig. These creatures were not immersed in any preserving fluid, merely stuffed and mounted in as realistic a manner as possible.

This show could not be classed as anything more than a vulgar spectacle set up to excite, frighten or disgust those prepared to pay their sixpence entrance fee; had each exhibit been given a more esoteric title, however, would this have raised its aesthetic acceptability and allowed it to have been put on show as a work of art at the Tate?

Such a simplistic view would tend to have us believe that it is only the title placed on the cow and calf currently exhibited at the Tate which keeps it from being nothing more than a vulgar show, without the sixpence entrance fee.

Yours sincerely,

Phillip Woollard

London, SE6

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