Object of the Week: The big 19th century Bengal tiger at the front of Leeds City Museum

By Culture24 Reporter | 01 September 2016

In 1862, William Gott – a wealthy Leeds industrialist – bought a tiger which had been shot by a decorated soldier in the Himalayas 16 year earlier

A photo of a stuffed bengal tiger at the city museum in leeds
The Bengal tiger was given to the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society more than 150 years ago© Courtesy Leeds City Council
Apparently the tiger had become “a nuisance” to a nearby village. But the mounted specimen was considered unequalled in Europe.

It’s become a famous big Bengal in Leeds, where it usually guards the entrance of the City Museum, aside from a temporary move earlier this year. Members of staff had discovered the larvae of a fur-eating moth in some of the taxidermy cases at the museum, and decided to shift the Bengal to the Discovery Centre for a spot of special deep freeze treatment.

“These incredible specimens come from all over the world and are some of our most popular and historic exhibits,” says Rebecca Machin, the curator of natural sciences.

“The sight of us taking these colourful, exotic creatures from the museum turned quite a few heads to say the least and people were really keen to hear about what we were doing.”

A black-headed oriole, now-extinct huia, yellow-capped mannakin, otter and grey seal also embarked on the mini-tour of the city.

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A photo of a stuffed bengal tiger at the city museum in leeds
Reports following its arrival suggested the tiger was the most popular piece in the museum© Courtesy Leeds City Council
A photo of a stuffed bengal tiger at the city museum in leeds
The tiger was shot near Dehra Dun by Major-General Sir Charles Reid© Courtesy Leeds City Council
A photo of a stuffed bengal tiger at the city museum in leeds
Conservators had the task of killing the moths and eggs of the Webbing Clothes Moth during work to preserve the tiger earlier this year© Courtesy Leeds City Council
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