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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Art And Soul: The Art of TaxidermyWEMU, February 11th
Omari talks about the relationship between art and taxidermy! How it's all about creating a moment in time. !--break-->. Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. — Lisa Barry is a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU...Read more
Winston taxidermist hopes to preserve businessdouglascountysentinel, February 9th
Jordan's Taxidermy is in the process of vacating another of the Winston community's historic landmarks, which lies at the corner of Post Road and Highway 78 across from Waldrop farm. Jordan's will be leveled to do extensive roadwork to reconfigure the...Read more
Fascination becomes a lifetime taxidermy career for Huron manPlainsman, February 8th
This diverse collection of taxidermist Del McHugh's work includes the exotic, such as wildebeest, birds and fish. In the next photo, Huron taxidermist Del McHugh poses with several different deer mounts in his workshop. McHugh, who said he is self...Read more
Rockport taxidermist one of youngest in stateCorpus Christi Caller-Times, February 8th
Rachel Denny Clow/Caller-Times Wyatt Iles cuts paper to protect the rest of a duck before painting the feet of a redhead duck while working in his taxidermy shop in Refugio on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Iles specializes in trying to preserve the natural look of...Read more
'Dead Animals' showcases taxidermy artThe Brown Daily Herald, February 3rd
Unless you're careful when visiting “Dead Animals,” the newest exhibition in the David Winton Bell Gallery, you might trip over the taxidermied Labradors or crush the stuffing from the baby chick next to them. Also called “The Curious Occurrence of...Read more
Upholstered Taxidermy You Don't Have to Feel Bad AboutVisual News, January 30th
As a child growing up in rural Wisconsin, I was thoroughly accustomed to seeing taxidermy deer and game mounts – I thought of them as standard items of household decor. Even when I was a small child they never scared or disgusted me – if anything, they ...Read more
Faux Taxidermy Sculptures Are Kill-Free SurrealismThe Creators Project (blog), January 26th
Like Association of Rogue Taxidermy members, Jelinek is committed to making her art cruelty-free. "As a child growing up in rural Wisconsin, I became thoroughly accustomed to seeing taxidermy game and deer mounts," she tells The Creators Project. "But...Read more
Virginia firm says Libby taxidermy shop owes it $1.2 millionThe Missoulian, January 17th
LIBBY – When a Libby taxidermy firm confirmed it had signed a contract with a sporting goods chain to supply natural habitat displays for its new outdoor recreation stores, one of the local owners predicted he'd be expanding his building and adding 20...Read more