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.


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Pick of the week: Up, up and away for £3.3m Aynhoe Park auction dispersal

25 January 2021

Some of the most eagerly contested lots in the Aynhoe Park: The Celebration of a Modern Grand Tour sale held by Dreweatts in Oxfordshire on January 20-21 were those created by the owner of the property himself.

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The stuff of collectors’ dreams

25 January 2021

Cases of Australian animals stand out among a family home taxidermy treasure trove

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Rowland Ward went Down Under

21 December 2020

Australian species pack into a Rowland Ward taxidermy tableau sold for £4000 in Guernsey auction.

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Pick of the week: Replica great auk is real winner at auction

19 October 2020

A Rowland Ward replica of a great auk – the flightless seabird that became extinct in the mid 19th century – sold at auction in Gloucestershire for £25,000.

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Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton sets auction record in New York

07 October 2020

A complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton was hammered down at $27.5m (£21.3m) at Christie’s New York.

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Kiwi taxidermy quartet draw major interest at Windsor Auctions

07 September 2020

A Victorian taxidermy case of four New Zealand birds by Rowland Ward of Piccadilly sold for an unexpected £7000 (estimate £100-200) at Windsor Auctions (18% buyer’s premium) in Berkshire.

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Squirrels taxidermy diorama is a big deal

06 July 2020

The 252-lot Natural History and Taxidermy auction at Tennants (20% buyer’s premium) on June 19 included this Victorian anthropomorphic diorama of card-playing, cigar-smoking red squirrels, c.1870-1900.

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Taxidermy penguin from Scott’s doomed Antarctica expedition attracts attention at Sworders

11 March 2020

A taxidermy Adélie penguin collected by scientists during the Terra Nova Antarctic Expedition from 1910-1913 drew strong interest at an auction in Essex this week.

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Treasures of the natural world (but in skeletal or stuffed form…)

02 December 2019

Extinct for 65 million years, dinosaurs continue to rule the world of children visiting the National History Museum, of multi-million dollar movie makers – and of bidders at the Evolution Sales at Summers Place Auctions (25% buyer’s premium).

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Fur flies in taxidermy oddity

24 June 2019

‘Boxing Badgers’ is one of just two known occasions when the celebrated taxidermist Peter Spicer (1839-1935) ventured into the strange world of the anthropomorphic tableau.

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Pick of the week: Heavyweight bid as Aztec mosaic made of feathers sells to Paris museum

03 June 2019

A remarkable example of 16th century cross-culture art – a feather ‘mosaic’ picture made in Mexico for Christian conquerors – has been purchased at auction by the Musée du Quai Branly.

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Dodo skeleton pieced together by 19th century naturalist features among specimens of extinction at Christie’s auction

29 April 2019

A near-complete dodo skeleton found and assembled in the 19th century features in Christie’s Science and Natural History sale next month.

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We’re back: Skeleton of rediscovered dinosaur species exhibited in Heathrow Airport before going up for auction in France

08 April 2019

A 155m-year-old one-of-a-kind diplodocus skeleton has been moved from the shale beds of Wyoming to Heathrow Terminal Five, a stopover on its way to auction in France.

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No, it isn’t a huge carrot…

18 February 2019

It’s not every day you see an auctioneer holding a 5ft 6in (1.67m) long sperm whale penis. Then again, it’s not every day that you see the sort of lots that are offered in Sworders’ Out of the Ordinary auction.

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Fairs form a natural approach to source stock

18 February 2019

Two owners of antiques and vintage businesses who buy extensively from fairs and markets in the UK are showcased here.

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Auctioneers offer golden oldies

10 December 2018

Illustrated here are some of the oldest lots ever auctioned – three in the Evolution Sale at on November 20 at Summers Place Auctions (25/20% buyer’s premium) of Billingshurst, West Sussex, and the other from Fonsie Mealy (23% buyer’s premium inc VAT) of Castlecomer, Ireland, in a sale held on the same day.

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Previews: £30,000 plus

12 November 2018

Our weekly selection from salerooms and dealerships.

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Getting stuffed is a good move for auctioneers

15 October 2018

Taxidermy, having emerged in a few years from a dusty, rather unseemly subject to a rostrum hot topic, continues to flourish across the country.

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Bird brains: saleroom sells large African taxidermy dioramas

13 August 2018

As both a collecting and a decorating sphere, taxidermy is one of the major growth areas over the past decade.

Dinosaur skeleton at Aguttes auction

Skeleton of new species of dinosaur brings 30-minute bidding battle

09 June 2018

Three bidders – one French, one Japanese and one Swedish – did battle for half an hour in the chase to acquire the skeleton of a new species of carnivorous dinosaur at a Paris auction this month.

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