Suzette Field Taxidermist and Collector
Suzette Field is not your average historian. She’s also a practicing taxidermist, impresario and “weird and wonderful events” promoter (The Modern Times Club and The Last Tuesday Society).
Inspired by P.T. Barnum and Victorian eccentricity, California-born Field was naturally drawn to the art of taxidermy. She now owns around 300 unique pieces, over 50 of which she displays in her North London home.
We met up with Suzette to photograph her collection for our ‘Stuff is Great’ campaign.
So how did this collection get started?
I had a friend who came over from New York who had an organisation called the Morbid Anatomy Library and she taught me how to stuff my first mouse. We put on an event called The Curiosity Shop and that's when my taxidermy took off.
I used to have a shop so my collection was a lot larger. A lot of the stuff I use for events and it's not in the right condition to keep in my house, to look at while I'm eating breakfast.
So have any of your neighbours come in and been like, oh?
Ha ha! None of my neighbours have come over yet but I would hope that people aren't that shocked by taxidermy. People might think my collection is a bit strange and that I’m a bit usual but I don’t really care about what they think. I wouldn’t want to compromise my own taste or style at the expense of gaining more admirers. I think life is too short for that.
Tell us about your favourite piece?
My favourite piece of taxidermy is a cased horseshoe crab. I absolutely love this piece! They are considered living fossils, and their ancestors date back to 450 million years ago. They pre-date the triassic period. I think they're absolutely marvellous and beautiful.
One of my main reasons I love natural history is because I'm also an artist. It may sound a bit cheesy but I think God, or nature, or whatever is by far the most skilled artist of all time. So by bringing that into my home I am celebrating that force.
Do you have a history of collecting stuff?
Taxidermy isn’t my first collection. As a teenager I collected comic books and military cars. And then I got into natural history, well I was always a fan of natural history but that kind of took over my main passion and drive for collecting.
For me there is an adventure in everything that you find. I’m not sure exactly what it is about my personality that’s drawn to that but I think it’s just a curiosity about life, and being able to express yourself with the things you surround yourself with.
So, you agree that stuff is great!
One of the reasons why I love to collect, why stuff is great, is because the items I’ve collected hark me back to different parts of my life. And different memories. It brings different stories of my life alive. Surrounding myself with things that I see every day gives context and depth to life as a story, that I think I otherwise wouldn’t have.
We couldn’t agree more with the words of this exceptional collector. Suzette Fields and her arguably morbid collection are a surprisingly life-affirming embodiment of our ‘Stuff is Great’ philosophy.
To see more of Suzette’s collection and our other featured collectors visit Stuff Is Great.