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Samuel Butler: Outing the Past

Samuel Butler: Outing the Past


In partnership with the local LGBTQ+ community, we are hosting a new temporary exhibition to coincide with LGBT History Month in February 2019.

The exhibition will feature author, artist, photographer and one time New Zealand sheep farmer Samuel Butler (1835 – 1902).

An image of Samuel Butler who will feature in an exhibition in celebration of LGBT History Month at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

Butler is most known for his satirical novels ‘Erewhon’ (published anonymously in 1872) and ‘The Way of All Flesh’ (published posthumously in 1903), a semi-autobiographical novel which attacks Victorian family values.

Butler had strong connections to Shrewsbury; his grandfather (also Samuel) was headteacher at the Shrewsbury School, he himself was a pupil, he owned a prominent mansion house in the town (Whitehall in Cherry Orchard) and named four streets in the area, including Alfred Street after his clerk Alfred Cathie.

Samuel Butler’s father Thomas was a noted local botanist and donated over 220 plant specimens to the museum. Samuel Butler also had a long correspondence with naturalist, geologist and biologist Charles Darwin, who was born and grew up in Shrewsbury.

Members of the local LGBT community and Museum volunteers have been working together to plan, research, interpret and design the exhibition.

It will include items on loan from St Johns College Cambridge and items from SM&AG and Shropshire Archives. These include photographs of people and places around Shrewsbury taken by Samuel Butler.

The exhibition has been part funded by the West Midlands Museums Development Trust Small Grants Programme.

The exhibition will be on display throughout February 2019 at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, The Square, Shrewsbury SY1 1LH.

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