the original pair that were preserved in Noah’s Ark

From Richard Cowtan’s 1872 Memories of the British Museum – quoted as less length in the opening pages of Marjorie Caygill’s Treasures of the British Museum

When we think of the facilities now afforded to visitors of the Museum, it should be remembered that, in those early days (~1835), persons wishing to view the collections were requested to leave their names, and attend at a fixed hour on some other day appointed, when they were hurried through the several rooms without any respect to their taste for any particular department


Few that saw them [in the Montagu House entrance hall] will forget the giraffes that stood on the upper landing of the staircase, which looked so stiff and rigid as to have given one an idea that they died under the influence of strychnia, or were the original pair that were preserved in Noah’s Ark.

The giraffes in question:


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