The Earl of Shelburne, later to be prime minister, kept an orangutan and a supposedly tame leopard in his orangery at Bowood House. The utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham liked to stroke the leopard when he visited. Sir Robert Walpole’s pet flamingo warmed itself by the kitchen fire. Sir Hans Sloane was followed round his Chelsea home by a tame, one-eyed wolverine. He also owned an opossum and a porcupine.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
At the Guardian, John Mullan reviews Christopher Plumb's new book on exotic animals in Georgian London: