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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AG: BPD doesn't have to release information in taxidermist's shootingBeaumont Enterprise, December 19th
The Texas attorney general's office ruled this week that the city of Beaumont does not have to release any more information about its police department's actions in the shooting death of taxidermist Stanley Leger on June 24. Leger, 80, was shot and...Read more
Learn the art, science of taxidermy at Chemeketa classStatesman Journal, December 17th
7 in Basic Taxidermy through the Community Education program at Chemeketa Community College. You will learn hands-on techniques employing basic taxidermy skills such as carpentry, woodworking, tanning, molding and casting to turn your trophy bird or ...Read more
How One Of History's Worst Taxidermy Jobs Became A Victorian Sensationio9, December 17th
Take a look at this walrus. This is what happens when a taxidermist is taxed with mounting an animal he's never seen before. With no idea that real walruses have copious wrinkles and folds, this Victorian just kept stuffing it and studding it until it...Read more
Museum Receives A Million Dollars' Worth of Taxidermyio9, December 16th
The haul consists of some 230 items gathered by Gregory Speck, who made the donation when he moved out of his Manhattan apartment-cum-personal museum. Mounts that Speck, a socialite, donated to the museum range from bison to wolves to water fowl ...Read more
Mixing Taxidermy and ArtWall Street Journal, December 8th
For those on your holiday shopping list who don't need another necktie or scarf and possess an interesting sense of humor, I'd like to propose Robert Marbury's “Taxidermy Art” (Artisan). It's a book that features some of today's leading “rogue...Read more
Beauty in death: The men who've turned taxidermy into strangely beguiling artCNN, December 8th
(CNN) -- Ferry van Tongeren believes that there are two types of people in the world: those who like dead animals, and those who don't. Being a professional fine-art taxidermist, it's obvious what category he places himself. "I know it's hard to...Read more
Taxidermy's sale of deer hides benefits wildlife rehab centerMeadville Tribune, December 7th
Collecting the deer hides and then donating all the proceeds from their sale is a way of giving back to the wildlife community, according to Mark Hockenberry, a second-generation taxidermist who owns Ridge Road Taxidermy. The business was started by...Read more
How do you discern good taxidermy? Look up the noseSt. Cloud Times, November 28th
Zwick, 31, a former union carpenter, has about five years' experience as a professional taxidermist. Last November, he moved Fur Fins & Feathers Taxidermy out of the basement where he grew up watching his father pursue taxidermy as a hobby, and into a ...Read more