Author Topic: Bufonidae Specimen Box (or, 'what i actually put in my sealed mahogany box')  (Read 15506 times)

juxtimon

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This specimen of Duttaphrynus Melanostictus (The Black-Spined Toad) was collected from a small colony inexplicably living on the Scottish island of Helscar in the summer of 1898 by the re-known naturalist Gen. Percival Farquhard.  The Black-Spined Toad is a native of Southern Asia, where it normally thrives in the humid monsoon season.  The anomalous colony of toads numbered in the twenties, all of which have now perished or been collected for study and distributed to centers of knowledge across the empire.
Contained within this box is the partially disarticulated skeleton of one of these rogue bufonidae, along with a pamphlet written by Gen. Farquhard on the re-articulation of the specimen.


This piece is of outstanding provenance,  sold by Percival Farquhard to the Imperial Bureau of Information in 1899 and housed there for many years before being transferred to the Stanhope Foundation in 1944.  Upon the closing of the Foundation in 1972, it was purchased from a private auction by myself and it has remained in my collection until today.







upon opening the box, you are greeted by the pamphlet titled Re-Articulating your Bufonidae by General P. Farquhard.
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after removing the pamphlet you are free to investigate the contents at your leisure.
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finally, i present to you an extract from the booklet
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(the true story of the box is... this is a specimen box i was commissioned to make a few months ago. unfortunately the girlfriend of the commissioner decided that she didnt like the idea of having a skeleton in their house and 'encouraged' him to pull out of the deal.  i continued to work on the box inbetween other jobs, until i finished it this morning)
i put a <a href="http://www.brassgoggles.co.uk/bg-forum/index.php?topic=3505.0">head in a tank</a> and a <a href="http://www.brassgoggles.co.uk/bg-forum/index.php?topic=5309.0">toad in a box</a>, now i'm putting _____ into a ______

Cornelius Sagan

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Superb piece ...
I feel great envy for his beautiful work. ;)

Please ... could indicate how the bones are composed of copy.
(You will forgive me for my English ... it is made in google).

Cornelius Sagan.

Prof. Friedrich VonHart, PhD

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Indeed. well done!
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junkdrawer

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Very nice work. Very authentic feel and excellent composition.

WisconsinPlatt

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ByJ ol Chap.  Well done.

Did you make the box or is it a found object?  It looks like it was made for that presentation, but it looks authentically old.  I'm impressed either way.

spcglider

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Absolutely stunning!  I don't know if I want to show this to my wife (Wildlife major and Natural History museum curator)... she'll probably beg me to buy it from you or lobby me to build one for her!  But this is EXACTLY the kind of cool stuff she's into.

Once again, absolutely stunning.

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Contessa Ellen Graves

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I feel sorry for the chap who pulled out of the deal! What a thing to miss, that truly is a lovely little artifact. Were I not astoundingly poor at the moment, I'd be tempted to negotiate for something similar for myself.
I don't understand females who get so very squeamish about things like skeletons. There are already at least two in her house- one in her, one in him. One more little one hardly makes any difference!

Saphyra

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Very cool. I can't imagine why the lady would be squeamish about that being in her home. Your box gave me the final idea of what to do with the tactile end of my Mound Builders and The Davenport Conspiracy project.
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juxtimon

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thanks everyone :) glad you all like it and even happier that it has inspired some of you :)

Cornelius Sagun: the bones are all real ones from the species described in the text.  i guess i could've made them out of something like scuply or DAS air-clay if i wanted to, but the real ones were perfect after a few hours work.

WisconsinPlatt:  the box started life as a relatively modern microscope box
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which i then added the 'shelves' to hold the glass, and the suede covered slope. after that, i bashed the hell out of it and added some patination with oil paints.
so i guess the short answer is, its a small-part found object and a large-part purpose built :)

JohnRichard

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Where did that text come from? Did you hand write all that? Or did you use some automatic printing device?

I do wish my penmanship was on your level it you did write all that out!

Bravo.


juxtimon

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the handwriting was based on a font that i downloaded from http://www.dafont.com/theme.php?cat=601.

after i typed each word, i applied a very small transformation to it in photoshop, to stop them looking too uniform. i slanted some by a degree or two, i squashed some by 2-3%, i bent some into slight arches or bulges and so on.  just to try and capture the various nuances of handwritten text.

Lord Croker

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Re: Bufonidae Specimen Box (or, 'what i actually put in my sealed mahogany box'
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2007, 10:58:12 pm »
Thats fantastic, it looks really genuine, but I have to point out a small mistake. It should be Duttaphrynus melanostictus i.e. capital letter for the genus name, lowercase for the species. Its a small thing but every serious naturalist would know that. Also this species was described by Schneider in 1799 as Bufo melanostictus. The genus Duttaphrynus is new, it was only erected in 2006 by Frost et al.

Sorry, can you tell I'm trained in taxonomy?

Cheers
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willow_twig

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O, very nice! A VERy nice job of fitting the red felt.
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juxtimon

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Re: Bufonidae Specimen Box (or, 'what i actually put in my sealed mahogany box'
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2007, 11:43:40 pm »
Thats fantastic, it looks really genuine, but I have to point out a small mistake. It should be Duttaphrynus melanostictus i.e. capital letter for the genus name, lowercase for the species. Its a small thing but every serious naturalist would know that. Also this species was described by Schneider in 1799 as Bufo melanostictus. The genus Duttaphrynus is new, it was only erected in 2006 by Frost et al.

Sorry, can you tell I'm trained in taxonomy?

Cheers
Charlie

whoops!

the capitalisation mistake  i believe has only happened in my write-up here (i think) the text in the project itself is in the correct format (by accident rather than by intent) 
and with the Bufo mistake i can claim i wanted to be anachronistic  ;) (all of my text actually said Bufo or Bufonidae up until the last minute, when i thought i was wrong and changed it to Duttaphrynus)

glad you like it though :) if only i had a trained taxonomist close at hand when i need one ;)


O, very nice! A VERy nice job of fitting the red felt.

thank you :)
it was actually my fourth attempt at fitting the interior, i didnt realise it would be so tricky. i tried first with flocking, then velvet, then felt and i eventually used the red suede thats in the pictures.

Lord Croker

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Re: Bufonidae Specimen Box (or, 'what i actually put in my sealed mahogany box'
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2007, 12:32:09 am »
whoops!

the capitalisation mistake  i believe has only happened in my write-up here (i think) the text in the project itself is in the correct format (by accident rather than by intent)

Its an easy mistake, if you think of a species name as being like a personal name it seems natural to capitalise both letters.

and with the Bufo mistake i can claim i wanted to be anachronistic  ;) (all of my text actually said Bufo or Bufonidae up until the last minute, when i thought i was wrong and changed it to Duttaphrynus)

glad you like it though :) if only i had a trained taxonomist close at hand when i need one ;)

I do like it, it reminds me of the dusty cabinet full of dead animal parts that was at the back of the zoology lab at university. Perhaps the use of the modern name can be thought of as a deliberate mistake that proves the anachronism of the piece, a sort of steampunk equivalent the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic, where a craftsman demonstrates his fallability by deliberately making something slightly asymmetrical.

Charlie

unlimitedchaos

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where did you get the bones from for this?  i need some small bones for a 40k model i'm making. and how did you cut the glass or perspex bit?

you should put this on ebay, i'm sure there loads of people who would want to bid on it

Rosel

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This is lovely. I really like the old style natural history displays. (and this reminds me i have some insects that i really need to get mounted)

juxtimon

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thank you rosel :)  get those insects mounted right away! i want to see them :)

lord croker- i love the whole wabi-sabi ideal, and its something I've always tried to work into things i make by putting 'intentional mistakes' in places. so i will definitely use that excuse  :D

unlimited chaos- i had the glass cut for me at a glaziers (quite frankly, they did a very poor job at cutting it accurately. it is nearly 3mm out in some places and not even remotely square.) and it was 'glued' with silicon sealant. 
the bones were originally from ebay, they were described as a "professionally museum cleaned skeleton, ready for display", however in reality they were little more than a dessicated corpse.  after cutting the skeleton into pieces, i had to soak it in disinfectant for 24 hours, then pick a load of connective muscles and tissue off the bones. then i had to let it dry out, then shave the tough cartilage from the joints. then soak again in disinfectant, and remove even more connective tissue and muscle. then dry them out again, bleach them slightly, and do a bit more picking away of tissue. all in, i spent nearly 12 hours cleaning the "professionally museum cleaned" piece.  there will nearly always be small amounts of tissue and muscle on smaller skeletons, as it is needed to hold the piece together, but this was horrendous.
there are plenty of better places to get bones from if you want them for modelling- thats the beauty of hindsight i suppose, its perfect 20/20 vision.

I'd love to sell this box on ebay, but i wouldn't have the slightest clue where to start advertising the auction to make sure people knew about it.  with something like this, to achieve even close to what its worth/what i want for it, i would need to advertise in a lot of places.

mine

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Re: Bufonidae Specimen Box (or, 'what i actually put in my sealed mahogany box'
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2007, 09:38:27 pm »
Cool stuff :)

Gazongola

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If you ever need any more calligraphy, I would be glad to help, as I am fully trained in copperplate. Also, I have a silkworm I picked up in China. Any ideas on how I would make a dislpay case? (I have about two actually)

heavyporker

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Re: Bufonidae Specimen Box (or, 'what i actually put in my sealed mahogany box'
« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2007, 03:44:01 am »
 About that silkworm, I'd look up entomological practices, such as butterfly or beetle collecting, and examine their display cases - it's rather like a frame and a glass pane protecting the sample(s). Pretty simple to do, in my opinion.
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Fortigurn

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Re: Bufonidae Specimen Box (or, 'what i actually put in my sealed mahogany box'
« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2007, 04:12:23 pm »
That is a beautiful piece of work.  I hope it ends up in a museum one day.
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mythdude

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Re: Bufonidae Specimen Box (or, 'what i actually put in my sealed mahogany box'
« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2007, 10:35:05 pm »
That is very nice.
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Gazongola

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Re: Bufonidae Specimen Box (or, 'what i actually put in my sealed mahogany box'
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2007, 12:02:34 am »
About that silkworm, I'd look up entomological practices, such as butterfly or beetle collecting, and examine their display cases - it's rather like a frame and a glass pane protecting the sample(s). Pretty simple to do, in my opinion.

I know where I can get those, however, they are not small enough. I will have to construct one.

polyphemus

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I have read somewhere that one can clean a skeleton (presumably a fairly small one) quite well by leaving it in an anthill for a season. I have not yet tried this however.
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