Big game taxidermy

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November 2016

The golden age of taxidermy flourished in the late 19th century, with the Victorian and Edwardian game hunters eager to show off their prize trophies. The leading taxidermist firm which served the elite hunters was Van Ingen & Van Ingen. Established in Mysore in southern India in the 1890s, the historic records of the firm showed that it would process over 400 tigers per year and, at its peak, employed over 150 workers.

A number of works from the Van Ingen factory recently came up for auction at The Lincoln Auction Rooms. The collection consigned to auction also included a group of pieces relating to James Edward ‘Jim’ Corbett (1875-1955). Corbett was a colonel in the British Indian army; a hunter, tracker and latterly a conservationist and author. He lived the majority of his life in India, but retired to Gurney House in Kenya. There he wrote some of his most famous works, such as The Maneaters of Kumaon and The Temple Tiger. The Jim Corbett desk, on which he wrote the manuscripts for his books, was also included in the Lincoln auction.

The highlights of the taxidermy collection were a group of tiger heads by Van Ingen & Van Ingen and foxes, badgers and otters by some of the greatest exponents of the art including Spicer and Rowland Ward. Also included in the auction were examples of modern taxidermy, with two Eagle owls by Mike Gadd of Boston Spa in Yorkshire.

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