An Unusual Mid-20thC Taxidermy Puffer Blow/Porcupine Fish Mounted as a Table Lamp


Origin: English
Period: Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1950
Length: 19 inches
Width: 12 inches
Height: 11 inches

Oh Martin, you look well, glowing with health, and my, what a lovely mock coral base you are sitting on!
“Thank you, it’s awfully comfortable” retorted Martin.
And so it was, my first encounter with Martin the puffer fish, a spiky chap but as soft as a brush and as hollow as the murmur of the midnight sea.

He’s lost a few of his spine ends here and there but he’s generally in good order for a sixty year old, though we can’t imagine Martin is poisonous anymore such are his kin. When Martin, or members of Martin’s family are alarmed, they can inflate themselves with water or air and balloon up to three times their normal size. This cunning puffing ploy is used only in desperation, as the inflated puffer loses most of its maneuverability; as we see here, Martin is rooted to the spot. Of course, Martin would have preferred to escape predators by swimming into a crevice, but alas not this time.

It has to be said that since Martin’s birth in the fifties, cheap Asian imitations have flooded the market, but needless to say he’s not worried. His Bakelite plug has since been replaced with a modern fitting one and he once again proudly shines his 15 watts of love over any room lucky enough to have him.