Taxidermy evolved out of the tanning trade, whose practitioners preserved the skins of animals for use as clothing and blankets. In the early part of the 19th century, some of the first so-called trophy animals were crudely stuffed with scraps of fabric by upholsterers. Later in the Victorian Era, the art of taxidermy as we know it today evolved, pioneered by, among others, Carl Akeley, who worked at the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Although Akeley was one of the leading innovators of taxidermy, excelling in the realistic mounting of mammals, later in his life he would reject the practice of bagging animals such as gorillas just so they could decorate a museum diorama, let alone a hunter's study. By the end of his life, Akeley had devoted himself to protecting these creatures—Africa's first national park was established in 1925 in no small part due his efforts.
Today, collectors of taxidermy have a range of animals and pieces to choose from. Gameheads are perhaps the most well known form of taxidermy. These include zebras, kudu, and other African animals whose heads are attached to pedestals that are designed to hang on a wall.
In the United States, the practice of mounting deer heads is very common, especially if it's a buck with a full rack of antlers. Complete animals known as full mounts tend to be of smaller species such as bobcats and fox, as well as skunks and raccoons.
Mounted fish is another popular taxidermy type. Birds from peacocks to pheasants to roosters mount well, too, as do quail and falcons.
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Recent News: Taxidermy
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Springfield taxidermist inducted into the Hall of FameFairborn Daily Herald, November 21st
Bob Anderson, of Springfield, was one of the initial group of four taxidermists inducted into the Ohio Taxidermy Association's newly created Hall of Fame. Greene County fair attendees have enjoyed Anderson's creations for many years in the Conservation ...Read more
From mermaids to monsters: The taxidermy mummies on show in Japan?Photos?RocketNews24, November 20th
Ningyo (Japanese mermaids – the word literally means “person-fish”) have a long and interesting history, but they aren't the only ancient fake taxidermy on show in Japan. Across the country are all kinds of other fascinating specimens: “mummies” of...Read more
From the field to the wall: The art of taxidermyThe Missoulian, November 16th
It starts in the field, said Jeff Welch, owner of Trails West Taxidermy in Helena, as many hunters are learning to make the proper cuts on an animal to allow a taxidermist to use the skin called a “cape” for a mount. Two decades ago, 80 percent of...Read more
DIY Taxidermy May Be for You, If You Have the GutsNew York Times, October 29th
If you visit Alison Raleigh at home, in Hoboken, N.J., one of the first things you're likely to notice is all the taxidermy: There's a deer head in the bathroom, a stuffed pheasant and crow on the mantel, a ram's head in the study. She bought a lot of...Read more
Inside The Bizarre World Of Rogue TaxidermyCo.Design, October 7th
In Taxidermy Art: A Rogue's Guide to the Work, the Culture, and How to Do It Yourself, Robert Marbury introduces a world of bionic crocodiles, pigs in Chanel bowties, impalas with human faces, and polar bears climbing on refrigerators (get it?). Not...Read more
Taxidermy moves from hunting lodges to hipster havensWashington Post, September 8th
The idea is to take the taxidermy skills used to make a standard deer mount and apply them in unconventional ways. The result is meant to be art: a three-headed turkey-cat, a mouse with the coloring of the Pokemon character Pikachu, or a squirrel with...Read more
Worst Stuffed Animals Ever Showcased in New Book 'Crap Taxidermy' (PHOTOS)Huffington Post, August 26th
A lot of people in the taxidermy world would like to stuff a woman named Kat Su. She's the creator of a website called Crappy Taxidermy , which focuses on the most bizarre and awful examples of stuffed creatures she can find. There's the brown bear...Read more
Art From Death: Taxidermy As A Creative HobbyWBUR, August 9th
"Taxidermy is having a massive comeback," says Jo Shears, fashion designer and animal stuffer. Why the sudden interest in a craft that has not been really popular since the 1800s? "It really fits with the trend for vintage and is really popular with...Read more