A Night at the Museum: Antique Taxidermy

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One of a pair of Victorian taxidermy cases featuring exotic birds Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

Taxidermy, the preservation of an animal’s body by stuffing or mounting it, has been around for centuries and is used for the purpose of display and study.  The word derives from the Greek words ‘taxis,’ meaning to move, and ‘derma,’ meaning skin.

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A view of the Great Exhibition of 1851 Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection

The golden age of taxidermy was during the Victorian era when collectors would incorporate mounted animals into their interiors.  John Hancock, an English ornithologist, is considered to be the ‘father of modern taxidermy.’  At the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, Hancock displayed a series of stuffed birds, which was highly regarded by visitors and critics.  One judge noted that thanks to his impressive display, Hancock ‘will go far toward raising the art of taxidermy to a level with other arts.’  Queen Victoria herself was an avid collector of mounted birds.

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One of a pair of Victorian taxidermy cases featuring exotic birds Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

We have two different taxidermy specimens in our collection at the moment.  The first is a pair of Victorian bird cases featuring exotic birds, including a golden oriole and kingfisher.  Both cases are fitted with a painted sunrise background.

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An Edwardian taxidermy case featuring pintails and sandpipers Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

We also have an Edwardian taxidermy case of pintails and sandpipers.  These animals are placed within a naturalised setting.

Just as it was during the Victorian era, taxidermy can be a wonderful addition to a contemporary interior.  Please feel free to be in touch if we can help you identify the perfect piece for you.

 

One thought on “A Night at the Museum: Antique Taxidermy

  1. Pingback: Taxidermy, Part II: A Colourful History | The Source

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