Preserving animal skins has been practiced for a long time. Embalmed animals have been found with Egyptian mummies.
Although embalming incorporates the use of lifelike poses, it is not considered taxidermy. In the middle ages, crude examples of taxidermy were displayed by astrologers and apothecaries. The earliest methods of preservation of birds for natural history cabinets were published in 1748 by Reaumur in France. Techniques for mounting were described in 1752 by M. B. Stollas. There were several pioneers of taxidermy in France, Germany and Denmark around this time. For a while, clay was used to shape some of the soft parts, but this made specimens heavy. The golden age of taxidermy was during the Victorian era, when mounted animals became a popular part of interior design and decor.
By the 18th century, almost every town had a tannery business. In the 19th century, hunters began bringing their trophies to upholstery shops, where the upholsterers would actually sew up the animal skins and stuff them with rags and cotton. The term "stuffing" or a "stuffed animal" evolved from this crude form of taxidermy. Professional taxidermists prefer the term "mounting" to "stuffing". More sophisticated cotton-wrapped wire bodies supporting sewn-on cured skins soon followed. In France, Louis Dufresne, taxidermist at the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle from 1793, popularized arsenical soap in an article in Nouveau dictionnaire d'histoire naturelle (1803–1804). This technique enabled the museum to build the greatest collection of birds in the world.
Wildlife Artistry - Professional Taxidermy in Guelph since 1998In the early 20th century, taxidermy began to evolve into its modern form under the leadership of artists such as Carl Akeley, James L. Clark, William T. Hornaday, Coleman Jonas, Fredrick and William Kaempfer, and Leon Pray. These and other taxidermists developed anatomically accurate figures which incorporated every detail in artistically interesting poses, with mounts in realistic settings and poses that were considered more appropriate for the species. This was quite a change from the caricatures popularly offered as hunting trophies.
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Taxidermy Past Client Testimonials
I would reccomend the services of Wayne Azzopardi and Wildlife Artistry. They did an amazing job on one of our mounts.
Chris S. - Guelph