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It was stamped for the premier Indian taxidermy firm Van Ingen and Van Ingen of Mysore and came with documentary evidence that it was a man-eater shot in the 1920s/’30s and provenanced to one Arthur Hiley, Chief of Conservation of Forests, Bombay Province.

The 16½in (42cm) wide trophy had some minor condition problems but sold within estimate at £3400.

Interior design appeal

The latest of Tennants’ (18.5% buyer’s premium) natural history and taxidermy sales, held at Leyburn on February 3, appeared to confirm the trend.

“Decorative pieces that appeal to interior designers continue to sell well,” said specialist Robbie Bright. Again, the name of a master taxidermist, Rowland Ward of Piccadilly, and a provenance dating back to an eminent Victorian naturalist were the keys to the success of three cased and naturally mounted ornithological lots.

Top-seller was the case of marsh sandpipers, c.1929, which made £3800 against an estimate of £1000- 1500.

‘Record’ pheasant


Cased common pheasant – £1800 at Moore Allen & Innocent.

The specialist Sporting Sale held by Moore Allen & Innocent (18% buyer’s premium) at Cirencester on February 17 included a common or ring-necked cock pheasant cased and mounted by Peter Spicer & Sons of Leamington Spa.

A brass plate testified that it had been shot by John Hunter M.C. and retrieved by Tag at Newton-le-Willows Lancashire 1936 The Highest Bird of the Day.

Offered with framed photographs of the shooting party, it was estimated at £300-500 but sold at £1800, which is believed by the auctioneers to be the highest price ever paid for a stuffed pheasant.