Hermann Ploucquet was a taxidermist at the Royal Museum in Stuttgart.

1850 - Exhibitied anthropomorphic animal groups in Leipzig, after Gianbrille's (or Mme. Louise Leneveux?) Animal Parlants.

1851 - Is on of a small group of taxidermists exhibiting at the Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace.

1851 - Queen Victoria describe's Plouquet's displays in her diary as "really marvelous".

1851 - Plouquet's exhibit is so popular that a book is quickly published as The Comical Creatures of Wurtenburg.  Daguerreotypes were taken by Antoine Jean Francois Claudet (1797-1867) and engravings from these were made on to wood for the book.  It must be noted that the stories in The Comical Creatures of Wurtemburg were written by the publisher (David Bogue, London) to illustrate the drawings and "pad-out" the book, the exception being The Story of Reynard the Fox. At least two editions were printed.

Plates from The Comical Creatures of Wurtemburg are shown below, along with some engravings from other sources as well as some photographs of the actual taxidermy tableaux.

If you can provide any additional information on Hermann Ploucquet or illustrations of his work please contact me!

Click here to jump down to "new" photos of Ploucquet's work from The Strand magazine, Vol. XIII 1897.

Book plate - DAME WEASEL AND HER CHILDREN.
Book plate - THE ATTENTIVE PHYSICIAN.
Book plate - THE VERY ATTENTIVE PHYSICIAN.
Book plate - OLD MARTEN AND SHARP WEASEL, ESQ.
Book plate - MR. BANTAM'S INTERVIEW WITH OLD MARTEN.
Book plate - LONGTAIL TEACHING THE YOUNG RABBITS ARITHMETIC.
Tail and color of this schoolmaster differs from the engravings above and below.
THE SCHOOLMASTER AT HOME - Engraved by G. Greatbach from a drawing by Mason.
Book plate - JACK HARE AND GRACE MARTEN LEADING OFF THE BALL.
Book plate - THE WONDERFUL HARE HUNT.
Book plate - THE DUEL OF THE DORMICE.
Book plate - THE KITTENS AT TEA - MISS PAULINA SINGING.
Comparing this display makes one wonder if the engraver took liberties with the room's decor.

Engraving featured in The Illustrated London News.  Also included in the Selected Engravings from the Great Exhibition. (vol. 7). From Daguerreotype by Claudet?

Book plate - ENSIGN SQUEEKER AND MISS ROSE.
Book plate - YOUNG MARTEN BIDDING FAREWELL TO MISS PAULINA.
Engraving from The Illustrated London News. After daguerreotype by Claudet?
Book plate - THE FROGS WHO WOULD A-WOOING GO.
Book plate - REYNARD AT HOME AT MALEPARDUS.
Book plate - REYNARD IN THE LIKENESS OF A HERMIT.
Book plate - SIR TIBERT DELIVERING THE KING'S MESSAGE.
Only slight differences between this display and the engraving above.  Notably the glasses and background.
Book plate - REYNARD BRINGS FORWARD THE HARE AS HIS WITNESS.
Book plate - REYNARD ON HIS PILGRIMAGE TO ROME.
Book plate - REYNARD ATTACKETH LAPRELL THE RABBIT.

Reynard tableaux redone as 2 tryptic vertical cases.  Image courtesy of Antiques Trade Gazette (31 October 1981 as are the Reynard photos to
the right of the Comical Creatures engravings.  Sold with the contents of Stoneleigh Abbey by Christie's who erroneously suggested these were by Walter Potter.  Fox cubs were used for these displays.

Engraving showing a medley of the Ploucquet displays from Selected Engravings from the Great Exhibition. (vol. 7).  
Also used in The Illustrated Exhibitor.

Stag being attacked by 5 hounds, part of the Wurtemburg display.

The Great Exhibition catalogues set out Ploucquet's works as 53 items, 20 of which are listed as animal caricatures.

Since The Comical Creatures from Wurtemburg lists 20 illustrations but one is a double plate that is counted as two, I suspect that The Wonderful Hare Hunt display was counted as two items, rather than one of Ploucquet's pieces being undocumented in the book.

The following is an excerpt from part III of an article titled 'Side Shows' by William G. FitzGerald, published in Vol. XIII of The Strand, 1897.

COMIC STUFFED ANIMALS - HEDGEHOGS SKATING.   From a Photograph. (Note: 2 hedgehogs are smoking.)

"It is not often that one comes across a scientist who is also what one might term a practical humorist.  Yet such a man was Hermann Ploucquet, preserver of Natural History objects at the Royal Museum of Stuttgart, Wurtemberg.  Herr Ploucquet conceived the highly original idea of setting up a large number of small animals - such as foxes, weasels, martens, hares, kittens, etc. - so as to resemble comic pictures.  Some of the groups, indeed, were concrete copies of Kaulbach's illustrations for Goethe's poem of "Reynard the Fox."

The grouping, dressing, and expression of the various animals are beyond all praise.  The entire collection was packed and forwarded to this country under the professor's own personal superintendence, and will probably be on show at the Crystal Palace at the forthcoming Victorian Era Exhibition.

The first photo shows several joyous hedgehogs skating on a miniature lake; notice the light fantastic step of the little animal in the middle.  Tiny skates are fitted to many rigid little feet.  In the second photo a group of very young and irresponsible kittens are serenading an angry porker; and the third illustration figures in the catalogue as "The Village Dentist."  The operator, a pine marten, wears an expression of fiendish glee, which is quite marvellous when we consider that this is merely a stuffed animal.

"These groups of animals," says Herr Ploucquet himself, "are chiefly imitations of the attitudes, habits, and occupations of rational creatures." Among these truly comic groups are:  three statesmen (foxes, appropriately enough, and of preternaturally serious aspect);  a frog ball;  a snail post (carried by a dormouse);  a prisoner before the magistrate (a hare and a hog);  an Irish wake (six cats and a polecat - the latter as the deceased);  a club raid in Soho (six hares and a fox); and a lady out walking with her husband and her servant (a cat, a red howling monkey, and a baboon.)"

KITTENS SERENADING A PIG.   From a Photograph.
" THE VILLAGE DENTIST "  From a Photograph.

The following are relevant excerpts from "Shop Boy" - An autobiography by John Birch Thomas (b. 1860). The manuscript was written in the 1930's, when Mr. Thomas was in his seventies, and published posthumously by his granddaughter.) 1983 Routledge & Keegan Paul

(I would set the date at approximately 1879)

From page 131:

"They were such nice little things that I hadn't the heart to be rude and tell them to bunk off, so when I wasn't serving I told them that they ought to go in the Gallery and see the Wurtemburg Collection of Stuffed Animals.  They were so funny;  little kittens, frogs, rabbits, moles and squirrels, and similar things, all dressed up like ordinary children and people.  They were put in models of houses and inns and made to look as if they were doing things like human beings.  But I only wasted my time.  They just stared at me all the time I was telling them.  I thought then that perhaps they weren't 'all there'."

From pages 142 & 143:

"Mr. Carwynne liked to talk about the Crystal Palace.  He said that there was no place like it for amusement and instruction anywhere near London, and he said people would miss it if it was ever closed down or if it got burnt down.  He said the most amusing exhibit was the Wurtemburg Collection of Stuffed Animals and what a pity it was that they were tucked away in the North Gallery instead of being put in the Central Transept where more people would see them.  He was glad when I told him that I had found them and how I had laughed.  He said that the man who arranged them must have spent years over it, and what a humorous man he must have been to arrange the little stuffed things in such laughable situations.

I'm afraid that the moth may have may have got in 'em now and they are no longer on show, but if you missed seeing them when you went to the Palace, I will tell you some of them like I did those little <...> girls.

The animals were all small things such as moles, squirrels, weasels, rats, small rabbits, cats and kittens, toads and long-legged frogs.  They were so well preserved that they looked alive.  The funny part was that they were all dressed up with hats or bonnets on and tiny suits of clothes.  They were arranged in compartments like the inside of a house with the animals sitting around and doing things like human beings do.

One scene was a farmhouse kitchen with a table and chairs, an old oak dresser and little brass candlesticks on the mantel.  Little kittens sat at the table having breakfast.  Some were boys and three were girls in white pinnies.  A grown-up cat sat at the end pouring out coffee, and on one side of the fireplace an old grandfather cat reading a tiny newspaper sat opposite an old lady cat who was mending a stocking.

Another compartment was a big room in an inn with animals sitting about drinking or smoking long pipes.  At a table in one corner four moles were playing cards, while a squirrel dressed as a waitress carried round drinks.  It was funny to see her long tail sticking up through a hole at the back of her dress.

Then there was an inside of of a church with a little white rabbit being married to a brown one by a monkey parson.  Lots of other white rabbits sat on the side where the bride stood, and brown ones on the other side.  Many of them were staring across at each other instead of attending to the ceremony.

Best of all was a duel between two large frogs who were standing on their long hind legs and fighting with swords.  A crowd of all sorts of little animals stood around looking over each other's shoulders and looked excited, some weasels and monkeys had climbed trees to get a better view, and mice sat in a long row on the garden wall.

If you did see this collection, I am sure you came away wondering at the patience and ingenuity of the man who arranged it all."