Rare Taxidermy pieces turn heads at Victor Mee Auctions
2018 has kicked off on a high at Victor Mee Auctions with an incredibly well-received 4th February Fine Arts and Decorate Antique Interiors sale at Victor Mee Auctions. Among the over 750 lots included in this auction were some truly outstanding Victorian-era taxidermy pieces which received attention from bidders around the world.
Featured in the collection were three extremely rare pieces of 19th century taxidermy – a speciality which has increased in popularity in recent years for the family-run auction house as buyers become more adventurous, mixing different styles and eras within their décor.
Perhaps the most impressive piece in the auction was lot 367, a large and exceptional quality case of 19th century taxidermy pheasants. This display, ‘The Pheasants of the World’ by John Leadbeater, the leading 19th century taxidermist, holder of the Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria, chief taxidermist at the Museum of Victoria (Australia), and ornithologist to Queen Victoria, is of museum quality on a William IV mahogany base with John Leadbeater’s trade label still seen on the back of the case.
The piece also includes a second hand-written label for Lady Henry Somerset, and it is believed that this case may have come from Sandringham House, where the second cabinet is currently housed in the trophy room, also depicting a taxidermy case of Galliformes. The case in Sandringham is the first part of the Galliformes, which is the hens and turkeys. The second case is to be made up of game birds, like the one hitting the block this weekend.
The taxidermy case came out of the 8th Marquis of Waterford, Curraghamore House thirty years ago. He was on the Duke of Edinburgh’s polo team, and along with all of his ancestors was a noted hunter. His predecessor was mauled by a lion. The bird display sold for an impressive €8,000 to a private collector in America who bid over the phone and is believed to be the highest for a taxidermy piece sold in Ireland to date.
A 19th century baboon also went for €1,000 and mounted zebra sold for €1,600 to separate private collectors.