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This book provides a review of taxidermy as a part of both our social and natural history. The development over 300 years of mammal and bird taxidermy, including elephants and even humans, are reviewed, along with attempts to locate the oldest existing stuffed animals. The controversy regarding the use of arsenic as a preservative is assessed, with some surprises. Several chapters describe in detail how taxidermy businesses operated in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Their different styles of products, trade labels (including some poems from them!) and their major groups of customers, ranging from huntsmen to bird collectors and householders, are described, with many quirky stories, historical snippets and wry comment. Although the main focus is principally on British taxidermists, as taxidermy for domestic decoration became so important there, the general picture would also apply to contemporary taxidermists in Europe and the USA. A whole chapter is devoted to the special features of American taxidermy and how different it is from that of Europe and how some aspects of it reached world supremacy. Frequent reference is also made to American taxidermists in other chapters and the Foreword is by Larry Blomquist, publisher of a major American taxidermy magazine. A review of taxidermy books published in Europe and the USA makes some interesting revelations about who thought of what first. A final chapter on taxidermy today discusses and dissects the unsubstantiated complaints and ignorant criticisms made of this subject. There is a discussion on what to do about bad taxidermy and its display, and also how professional organizations now strive to attain perfection in this field of artistic endeavor, benefiting from new skills and materials. Overall the book aims to show that taxidermy has many different dimensions, such that the reader will not hurry past the next time they see a stuffed animal, but stop and think "Hmm, that's interesting..."
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Book Description MPM Publishing, Ascot, 2010. Paper covers. Condition: New. No Jacket. 1st edition. Should be titled "The" history of British taxidermy; no other work comes close. Pat Morris's whimsical humour permeates this comprehensive account of the development of taxidermy, which he defines in a particular way to exclude mummification and other inartistic processes. Richly illustrated with photographs, many from the author's own collections, and with a detailed historical and biographical content, this is the essential reference book for anyone with an interest in this branch of natural history. iv, 396 pp. Weight: 1.5 Language: English. Seller Inventory # 7562