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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Taxidermy Bone Jewelry That's Cruelty Free? Yes, That's A Thing, And It Makes ...Bustle (satire) (press release) (registration), September 30th
My obsession with bone-processing and taxidermy occurred only a few years ago while living in Oregon. My friend Morgaine Faye quickly became one of my favorite jewelry designers as I watched her casually take a dead bird and put it in her freezer...Read more
The most macabre art: Why Kate Mosse took up taxidermy for her latest bookExpress.co.uk, September 28th
In The Taxidermist's Daughter my inspiration is Sussex and my lifelong obsession with a weird and wonderful local museum of taxidermy. I grew up in Fishbourne near Chichester, West Sussex. It was a wonderful place to be a child. There's a Roman palace, ...Read more
Oklahoma Big Buck Contest offers cash, taxidermy awardsEdmond Sun, September 25th
The winner will receive a $500 cash prize and a free shoulder mount of the winning antlers offered by the contest taxidermists, Terry's Taxidermy in Oklahoma City or Danny Keener Taxidermy in Choctaw. “The Big Buck Contest gives participants a chance...Read more
Damien Hirst Creates Wunderkammer for Luxe Taxidermy Houseartnet News, September 24th
In what sounds like an art and science marriage made in heaven, Damien Hirst's latest artwork, a Wunderkammer or so-called “cabinet of curiosities,” was created in partnership with French taxidermy and natural science boutique Deyrolle. The work...Read more
Omahan's taxidermy collection of game birds encompassing 103 species will be ...Omaha World-Herald, September 19th
LINCOLN — An Omaha physician's taxidermy collection of game birds from around the world will be showcased Saturday at a University of Nebraska-Lincoln reception. Also, a new book about Dr. Everett “Buzz'' Madson's world-class collection, “Game Birds ...Read more
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
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