BEFORE HD wildlife documentaries, this is how the Victorians got up close and personal with the natural world.

Stuffed animals were a familiar sight in well-heeled homes and a new exhibition explains the role played by a famed explorer.

The Oxfordshire Museum tomorrow opens the free World of Wallace show about Alfred Russel Wallace and the times he lived in.

The naturalist – who died in 1913 aged 90 – helped inform the theory of evolution alongside Charles Darwin, thanks to his globetrotting.

Captured by pirates, being stranded between warring tribes and discovering the flora and fauna of Indonesia were typical weekends for the adventurer.

David Howell, assistant curator at the Woodstock museum, said a fire screen adorned with a real flamingo was typical of the time.

He said: “The only way to capture things and identify them was to have a physical example of it.”

The exhibition which runs until August 31, includes examples of Alfred Wallace’s discoveries.

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