February 27, 2003
From: Mike Prokop
I was just wondering if you know of any place that makes exotic stuffed animals ... particularly the Blue Dragon Sea Slug [Pteraeolidia ianthina]. A dear friend of mine is deeply infatuated with them and I would love to surprise her with one as a present. Any help you can give would be much appreciated!
I am afraid nudibranchs are not the best things to preserve. They ahve no hard parts and they lose their shape and colour when they die. Over the years museum preparators have had various success in making models from various materials ranging from plaster of paris to fibreglass. I have even seen a silver brooch in the shape of Glaucus.
However none of these would seem to be what you are after. The most famous models were made in the 19th century in glass by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, a German father and son, who later moved to the USA. Most famous for 1000s of glass plants and flowers, they also made a collection of marine animals including, jellyfish, plankton and nudibranchs. You can find background information in the follwing article:
• Kessler, C. G. & Russell, H. D. (1978) Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka’s nudibranch glass models. The Nautilus, 92(4): 167–172
Bits of the collection are now scattered throughout the world, many of course in the USA. I've added some links here about the various institutions as well as websites about the artisans and their glasswork. There is currently an exhibition of the Blaschka's pieces travelling through the UK, called The Glass Aquarium. It just opened at Nottingham on the 15th of Feb.
Other relevant websites are:
• http://www.hmnh.harvard.edu/exhibitions/glass.html (info about their glass flowers as well as a history of their craft)
• http://www.warmus.com/Blaschka%20Sea%20Creatures%20Cornell%20Warmus.htm (glass models at the Cornell Museum)
• http://www.absolutearts.com/artsnews/2002/07/10/30090.html (history and future exhibitions)
• http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/ACC_Data/news%20item/ppu_news_021204c.asp? opt=news&offset=40 (The Glass Aquarium - an exhibition travelling throughout the UK)
• http://www.3k1.co.uk/ngc/general/indexglass_blaschka.htm (The National
Not quite what you had in mind Mike, but interesting nonetheless