John Simons - Obaysch - Thursday 31st January

Obaysch: A Hippopotamus in Victorian London

To be launched by Kim McKay AO, Director & CEO of the Australian Museum

Obaysch: A Hippopotamus in Victorian London is the story of Obaysch the hippopotamus, the first ‘star’ animal to be exhibited in the London Zoo.

In 1850, a baby hippopotamus arrived on English shores, allegedly the first in Europe since the Roman Empire, and almost certainly the first in Europe since prehistoric times. Captured near an island from which he took his name, Obaysch was donated by the viceroy of Egypt in exchange for greyhounds and deerhounds. His arrival was greeted with a wave of ‘Hippomania’, doubling the number of visitors to the zoo.

Uncovering the circumstances of Obaysch’s capture and exhibition, John Simons investigates the notion of a ‘star’ animal, as well as the cultural value that Obaysch, and the other hippos who joined him over the following few years, accumulated. This book also delves into the historical context of Obaysch and his audience, considering the relationship between Victorian attitudes to hippopotami and the expansion of the British Empire into sub-Saharan Africa.   BUY THE BOOK

Date and time: Thursday 31st January, 6pm for 6.30pm

Please RSVP here or phone 02 9660 2333

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