Dr Loske recounts the amusing but also serious story of the first living giraffe in England. She was given to George IV as a diplomatic gift by the Pasha of Egypt in 1827 and soon influenced fashion, sciences, and the fine and decorative arts, as well as ringing in a new era of municipal zoological garden. A visitor to Georgian London would have been able to see performing bears in the streets, a royal zebra at Buckingham Gate, an elephant, rhino, or camel crammed into a private menagerie in the Strand, and get dangerously close to lions, tigers, and leopards at the Tower. Across the country travelling menageries brought the spectacle of exotic creatures to towns and cities far and wide. But one creature did not arrive in this country until the end of George IV’s reign: a living giraffe. In this lecture Alexandra Loske will tell the very special story of George’s giraffe’s journey from deepest Africa to the docks of London, what happened to her here, and the legacy she left.
Dr Alexandra Loske is a German-born art historian and curator at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton specialising in late 18th century and early 19th century European art and architecture. Alexandra has lectured and published widely.
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