There’s no such thing as bad taxidermy.
A favorite memory of my life in Africa was staying at the Muthaiga Club in Nairobi, Kenya – not just for fun of being in the old haunts of Karen Blixen, Lord Delamere, and Denys Fintch-Hatton – no, even more fun: there was no better collection of moth-eaten, eyes-akimbo taxidermy than in those halls. (I haven’t been back for years; the taxidermy could be gone now – and that would be a real shame.)
A little taxidermy goes a long way in a room. I’m not talking here about those elaborate game rooms with a massive sailfish on the wall or full kudu mount. These remarkable museum-quality trophies have their places of course. They are powerful testaments to their accumulators. No, what I’m talking about is the zebra skin rug under the hall table, or the stuffed muskrat or squirrel on the bottom shelf of the bookcase.
And I’m also not talking about going out and shooting something for the purpose of stuffing it and showing it off. Absolutely not. But if your great-uncle stuffed a beaver (why??) and she’s up in the attic, bring her out, brush her off, and find a place for her. She deserves a little respect. (You think I’m kidding — look what I saw in a bait shop in PA!)
OK, I say there’s no bad taxidermy…but that’s a bit much.
Nevertheless, if there’s taxidermy around, then something should be done with it. And there’s a lot of the old stuff around – quite frankly, the older, the more fun it is. The best ones, I think, are the ones that are a little moth-eaten and come with a story, even if the story’s of the junk shop from which you rescued him (that junk shop story may very well soon be replaced by one more colorful, very likely involving ancestors and attics.) If you can’t find any in the attic, you can find them in the junk shops, the more moth-eaten the more reasonable in price, and to me, the better.
Merry Christmas! Happy Birthday! – it’s the perfect one-off present for that hard-to-buy-for husband, wife (oh yea!), brother, friend…
Check out the new “best worst taxidermy” slide show…send some pictures in! We’ll add them to the show!