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.


Narwhal’s twisted appeal

02 October 2017

Narwhal tusks, once sold for colossal sums to Elizabethan gentleman as unicorn horns, continue to be in demand as sculptural natural history objects of contemplation.


A Spicer terrier with a tale

02 October 2017

Early to spot the rise of interest in taxidermy, Tennants’ (18.5% buyer’s premium) latest Natural History sale on September 20 was led by a top-quality diorama with a back story adding to its appeal.

WEB Burdett_1 25-7-17.jpg

Burdett whale tooth sets scrimshaw record in US sale

25 July 2017

In an August 2016 ATG wrote that the scrimshaw market had been in the doldrums but was showing signs of a return to buoyancy. Judging by the latest results from Massachusetts auction house Eldred’s, bidders are certainly prepared to push the boat out for the best examples.


Salmon cast reeled in at Mitchells

08 May 2017

Catch of the day at Cockermouth auctioneers Mitchells’ (20% buyer’s premium) sporting sale on April 8 was a cast of a salmon. The 48lb fish, cast by Mallochs of Perth, was estimated at £1800-2000 but was reeled in by a Scottish enthusiast at £5200.

Scarlet ibis stolen in taxidermy raid

Taxidermy burglar sentenced after recovery of van full of stuffed animals

05 April 2017

A member of a gang which stole taxidermy from a well-known dealer a year ago, has been sentenced.


Taxidermy is hot stuff

25 March 2017

The taxidermy market continues to grow – particularly for showpiece lots such as the Bengal tiger’s head offered at Andrew Smith (19% buyer’s premium) of Winchester on February 8.

A rare dodo skeleton

Rare dodo skeleton sold at auction in West Sussex for £280,000

22 November 2016

A rare dodo skeleton – the first almost complete specimen in nearly a century – has sold for £280,000 at auction.

A rare 95 per cent complete dodo skeleton

Rare dodo skeleton comes to Sussex auction

13 September 2016

This rare dodo skeleton – the first almost complete specimen in nearly a century – carries an estimate of £500,000 at Summers Place Auctions’ November 22 sale.

Scrimshaw auction Rafael Osona

Scrimshaw market shows signs of a return to buoyancy at sale of Memishian collection in US

18 August 2016

Scrimshaw has been in the doldrums during the last few years with several dealers and auctioneers holding back on sales until there is more legislative clarity over the rules concerning its sale and importation.

Decorated nautilus shell at Charles Miller

“A jaw dropping result” – nautilus shell outstrips estimate and sells at £8500

20 May 2016

A large scrimshaw-decorated nautilus shell by Charles B Wood sold for an unexpected £8500 at Charles Miller’s latest sale of maritime antiques in London. It sold to a UK private collector.

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.

15-12-08-2220NE06A antique narwhal tusk.jpg

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”.

15-09-05-2206NE04A Adam Partridge ambergris.jpg

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?

13-11-05-2115NE03A Summers Place Auctions.jpg

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.

13-05-02-2089DD01A London Taxidermy.jpg

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.


Big beasts of the saleroom

12 July 2012

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


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.


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.



Tags in this section