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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The right stuff at Gallery of Amazing ThingsSouthFlorida.com, May 21st
The Oregon artist and taxidermist buys dead specimens — menageries of fish, reptiles, birds, beetles, butterflies and crawling insects — and preserves them in giant, geometric mosaics. For his "Sumptuosa Prism," monarch butterflies and assorted bugs...Read more
Utahn with talent for taxidermy named 'Best in World' at international competitionfox13now.com, May 20th
SALT LAKE CITY — From buffalo, to deer, to bears–if you can hunt it, Dave Ferguson of Ogden can mount it, and nobody is better. This month Ferguson won “Best in World” in two categories at the World Taxidermy Competition in Missouri. There were more ...Read more
Utah man takes home top taxidermy awards from competitionSalt Lake Tribune, May 20th
Ogden • It's a first for Utah: the state is now home to a man considered one of the world's best taxidermists. The Standard-Examiner reports that Harrisville man David Ferguson brought home two "Best in World" titles from the World Taxidermy...Read more
Brewdog just crowdfunded £5 million and dropped taxidermy 'fat cats' from a ...Business Insider, May 12th
To celebrate Brewdog hitting a fifth of its target in such a short space of time, the group, which possibly has the most outspoken company owners in the industry, dropped taxidermy "fat cats" over London to prove a point. “We're very pleased with the...Read more
Taxidermy elite compete for world title in SpringfieldSpringfield News-Leader, May 6th
That's the goal of about 1,000 taxidermists and fish carvers who are in Springfield this week for the World Taxidermy & Fish Carving Championships at the Springfield Expo Center downtown. They represent all 50 states and 25 countries, including a ...Read more
Iowa taxidermist charged with trafficking endangered rhino hornsDesMoinesRegister.com, May 5th
A northern Iowa taxidermist is expected to plead guilty next week to a charge of trafficking horns from a black rhinoceros, a critically endangered African species whose populations have been drastically thinned by illegal poaching. Federal prosecutors...Read more
maria papadimitriou brings a greek taxidermy shop to the venice art biennaleDesignboom, May 5th
for the venice art biennale 2015, athens-born artist maria papadimitriou recreates a small shop found in the central greek town of volos within the venice's giardini della biennale. the installation entitled 'why look at animals? 'agrimiká' — curated...Read more
Photos: A Typical Work Day as Told by Horrible Taxidermy FailsOutdoorHub, May 4th
Work can be a slog, and that's one of the reasons why many people like to decorate their workspace. Whether it's a little piece of home, family photos, or a souvenir from your latest hunting trip, these knickknacks often help to spice up the work...Read more