Taxidermy & Natural History

Taxidermy, the art of preparing, stuffing and mounting the skins of animals for display, has been practiced on many vertebrate species, including mammals, fish, reptiles, birds and amphibians for a long time.

The early taxidermy pioneers date back to the 18th century, although the golden age of animal conservation was largely during the Victorian era, in part a result of increasing interest in the natural world and travel further afield.


Scarlet ibis stolen in taxidermy raid

Raid on Wimbledon taxidermy dealer

07 March 2016

Specialist taxidermy dealer Alexis Turner has lost a significant portion of his stock following an extraordinary raid on a London warehouse.

Cased fish  J Cooper and Sons

Cooper’s cased trout brings demand in Cirencester

02 March 2016

Cased fish, once the only acceptable face of the taxidermy market, have cooled since the 1990s when prices in excess of £3000 were commonplace.

Walter Potter taxidermy The Kittens Wedding

An expensive kittens’ wedding at $100,000

18 February 2016

Two of the best-known anthropomorphic creations of the celebrated Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter (1835-1918) resurfaced at Treadway Toomey in Oak Park, near Chicago, Illinois, on February 6.

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Narwhal tusk returned by Border Force

08 December 2015

An antique narwhal tusk that faced destruction following a dispute over paperwork has been returned to its owner after a judge ruled its confiscation by customs had been “unreasonable”.

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Adam Partridge to offer large lump of whale vomit found by vendor on Welsh beach

05 September 2015

Fancy spending thousands of pounds on a lovely lump of vomit?

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How sales are evolving at Summers Place

05 November 2013

This remarkable fossil of one of the largest animals ever to have walked the Earth becomes the first large dinosaur skeleton to be offered at auction in the UK at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, West Sussex, on November 27.

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Taxidermy is far from a dying art, says London specialist

02 May 2013

“An armadillo for you, from Jonathan Ross,” says the courier as he returns a box midway through my interview with Alexis Turner.

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Big beasts of the saleroom

12 July 2012

Taxidermy is notoriously difficult and expensive to repair so condition is key.

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Tiger, tiger burning bright

17 October 2009

AMONG the more run-of-the-mill furnishings that constitute the bulk of the popular Interiors sales at Christie’s South Kensington, there are often a handful of more quirky items.

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How the Beagle left its own ‘fossilised’ remains…

10 August 2009

Scrimshaw, or carved bone and ivory, is very collectable, but the signature and scenes on this 7in (18cm) long whale’s tooth put it in a special league.

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On the origin of bidding...

08 May 2009

A YEAR that marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species has already produced several television and radio programmes on Darwin, and it was always to be expected that his saleroom profile might be high in 2009.

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Teddy Roosevelt’s big game toys make £14,000 in Yorkshire

04 June 2007

Despite riding the crest of a wave of popularity, Theodore Roosevelt declined to run again for the presidency in 1908. Instead he anointed William Howard Taft as his successor and famously embarked upon a year of big game hunting in Africa.

Queen Elizabeth paid more, but narwhal tusks are still prized

02 September 2006

THE spectacular and enigmatic spiralling tooth that grows from the upper jaw of the male monodon monoceros, long gave credence to the existence of the unicorn.

Stuffed animals on the loose

08 November 2005

POLICE are appealing for information following the theft of four stuffed heads of wild animals that were stolen from a Leicestershire house.

Raj angler nets the £1800 catch of day

24 March 2005

Wotton Auction Rooms, Wotton-Under-Edge, February 22-23, Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent ALL manner of exotic beasts and big game hunting trophies passed through the hands of the celebrated London taxidermists Rowland Ward in the late 19th/ early 20th century.

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Specialists rule Qianlong vase is ‘right’ and bid £5000

20 October 2004

A COUPLE of exotic sleepers swelled the tally at Lays Auctions (15% buyer's premium) September 23-24 sale which also boasted healthy prices for more home-grown fare such as Troika and Newlyn copper.

The up-and-down world of art in nature

09 September 2004

PLENTY of art and antiques on offer around the capital this month but the imaginative Mayfair tribal art specialists the Gordon Reece Gallery have come up with a different take on the decorative, with a selling exhibition they hold at 16 Clifford Street, London W1 until October 2.

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Provenance and craftsmanship overcome risk of overexposure

10 August 2004

AS its title suggests, the June 30 sale of scientific, medical and engineering works of art held by Christie’s South Kensington (19.5/12% buyer's premium) was something of a mixed bag. The 216-lot auction incorporated anything from 18th century microscopes and preserved amphibians to delft barbers’ bowls and scale models of locomotives.

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The up-to-date appeal of fossils

22 June 2004

FOSSILS, whose decorative qualities in either antique or contemporary settings, have made them a regular feature of Sotheby’s garden sales at Billingshurst, opened the May event with 100 lots. Although dealers have become interested in the genre (there are, for example, now stands selling natural history at Olympia), private buyers took the top offerings including the best seller, a detail of which is shown right.

Bears, mammoths and trilobites get enhanced

16 March 2004

NATURAL history auctions usually throw up some fascinating lots, from bugs in amber to fossilised fish, from meteorites to a range of precious and semi-precious rocks, and the January 11 sale held by I.M. Chait, in association with David Herskowitz, was no exception.

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