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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Crappy Taxidermy: 'They think I'm making fun of them. I am, I guess'The Guardian, September 12th
A sportswear designer by day, Su is a sincere fan of taxidermy, risible and otherwise. On moving to Brooklyn five years ago, she searched online for something that might lend her dingy new apartment a little class. “I wanted a really regal, awesome: a...Read more
Exploding Pill TaxidermyCasper Star-Tribune Online, September 11th
Exploding Pill Taxidermy has proudly served the Casper community since 2010 by providing full-time professional taxidermy services for our customers. Locally owned and operated by Kelly Schafer, Exploding Pill Taxidermy is a Better Business Bureau ...Read more
All Creatures, Great and Stuffed, review: 'was it really about taxidermy?'Telegraph.co.uk, September 10th
Was Matt Rudge's documentary All Creatures, Great and Stuffed (Channel 4) really about taxidermy? We were repeatedly told of the increasing popularity of the art, but the more fascinating objects of inspection were the unusual personalities of those...Read more
Taxidermy: all creatures great and stuffedTelegraph.co.uk, September 9th
“Taxidermy is on the rise,” says Rudge, as I try to ignore the sweet, meaty smell at a class in Shoreditch, east London. “I wanted to examine why it's becoming socially acceptable to have a dead animal in your house.” Damien Hirst and Polly Morgan...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
'Crap Taxidermy' stuffed with weirdnessWashington Post (blog), September 2nd
Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes the bear gets you. But it's hard to tell who won in “Crap Taxidermy” (Ten Speed, $12.99). It's a new photo book drawn from Kat Su's ghoulishly hilarious Web site, CrappyTaxidermy.com. This is not be confused...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
This Badass Lady Taxidermist Stuffs Her Animals And Eats Them TooHuffington Post, August 26th
When I pursued fine art and sculpture, I made the decision to collaborate my interests in anatomy and conservation, with craftsmanship, by recreating a tangible animal. Taxidermy is both biological and sculptural, and returns me the privilege of being...Read more