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7/11/2017 - July: The Birds are Coming to MPL

The Bird are Coming…..Upcoming Exhibit
Watercolors by noted wildlife illustrator Rex Brasher                          
F. Eugene Allen collection of Taxidermied Mounts
Starting July 11, 2017

The Mansfield Public Library is exciting to be hosting two collections from the CT State Museum of Natural History.  One collection is a series of watercolors by noted wildlife illustrator Rex Brasher.  Brasher, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1869, had a lifelong goal of painting the likeness of every bird in North America from a living specimen in its native habitat. This was a formidable task that had never before been accomplished, even by his predecessor, the famed naturalist John James Audubon. Brasher produced 875 watercolors depicting 1,200 species and sub-species of North American birds more than twice as John James Audubon, who painted 489 species. A self-taught artist, Brasher honed his techniques as he traveled throughout North America painting his subjects. His journeys were largely financed by working at odd jobs, and from winnings from betting on horse races. Thanks to a $700 commission he received in 1911 for illustrating a book, he purchased a farm in Kent, Conn. and resided there until his death in 1960 at age 91.

The F. Eugene Allen collection came to the CT State Museum of Natural History in the early 1980s. The collection consists of hundreds of mounts that were donated by F. Eugene Allen, a New Hampshire naturalist who had amassed the large collection of mounted specimens (primarily birds) over 50 years. Mr. Allen had begun the collection in the 1930s, initially with the goal to preserve specimen of hawks and owls, which were then being hunted at such a rapid rate that he feared they would become extinct. He learned taxidermy through a correspondence course and mounted each animal. Mr. Allen also built display cases with realistic, hand-painted backgrounds for them, and in some cases eggs and other additions.

Today, the greatest value of the Allen collection is its role as an educational resource, giving people opportunities they would not otherwise have to see and appreciate a variety of birds up-close.

Stop in to take an appreciative look!