A Rare Brace of c.1905 Preserved Natural History Specimens of Dissected Frogs, Prepared by E Gerrard & Sons


Origin: English
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900-1915
Diameter: 4.5 inches each
Height: 7.75 inches each

The specimens, preserved in formaldehyde within cylindrical glass capsules, showing the female urogenital system and arteries and veins of two frogs, with latin labels “Rana Temporaria” for Frog, “Urogenital System, Female” to one and “Injected.. Arteries Red, Veins Blue”, and the makers label for T Gerrard & Co Ltd, labelled `E.Gerrard & Sons, Natural History Studios, 61 College Place, London`; Pentonville Road, London.

The specimens, and the capsules they reside in, are in good condition considering their relative fragility, with no cracks. There are some loose particles suspended in the formaldehyde, which is entirely normal and the labels have moved form their original positions. The veins and arteries in one of the specimens would have once been double injected blue and red but no colour now remains.

Founded by Edward Gerrard this fine maker is first listed from around 1870 at 54 Queens Rd, Camden Town. They then moved to 60 College Square in about 1900 and then occupied 61 (where these specimens were prepared) shortly afterwards. Finally they ended up in Camden Street in about 1935. Charles son's also worked in the family business and the Gerrards had a good working relationship with another great taxidermy specialist, Rowland Ward, both often palming work off to each other. They also both produced work bearing the label of Harrods and Army and Navy Stores.

The frog's reproductive and excretory system is combined into one system called the urogenital system and the female specimen here shows the kidneys, oviducts, bladder and cloaca. The second jar shows the veins from different parts of the body entering the right and left atria. Blood from both atria goes into the ventricle and then is pumped into the arteries, which are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart.

By a superb maker, and surviving for over a century, this covetable pair of natural history specimens provides pure fascination and unusual decorative effect in equal measures.