Situated between The Drawing Room gallery and The Study, Colour and Camouflage showcases a selection of animals, birds, butterflies, rocks and minerals from the natural world, arranged in perfect rainbow-colour order.

Colours in the natural world can be a warning sign or an attraction; a way of standing out or of hiding from predators and prey. Included in the rainbow display are examples of butterflies and moths with mimic and camouflage patterns.

The majority of the birds on display come from a collection bequeathed to the museum in 1903 by William Oxenden Hammond (1817-1903) and include very early and rare specimens. The Hammonds were local landowners and bankers. William Oxenden, like his father William Osmund (1790-1863), collected British birds and gave over 500 of their specimens to the museum.

Location First floor, The Beaney

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Displayed in the gallery are two types of Gold – but could you tell the difference between them?

One is the type we all know, love and aspire to possess and the other is a deceiving natural imitation often mistaken for the real deal…

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This Owl Butterfly on display is commonly known as the Brazilian Little Owl. It is a South American butterfly and is often found in rainforests from Guatemala to northern Argentina.

They are known for their eye-like markings, resembling owls’ eyes, which not only deceive predators but draw attention away from more vulnerable body parts…

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There is a simple yet sad tale of how The Beaney came to acquire a rook dressed quite curiously in a red coat.

The intriguing story is from the early 1900s when a group of boys, looking for a bit of fun, captured a rook and dressed it quite playfully in a red coat. Unfortunately, when the rook eventually returned to its flock, still clad in its fetching red coat, it was rejected by its flock…

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