Back from the dead? Replica ‘Dodo’ a highlight taxidermy highlight of museum auction

Some interesting items of taxidermy look set to cause a stir amongst collectors when they go under the hammer later this month as part of an auction of former exhibits of the Stratford Armouries Museum. West Midlands’ auctioneers, Cuttlestones, has been commissioned to sell the collection based on the continued success of its quarterly Specialist Collectors’ sales, which includes extensive militaria and taxidermy sections.

Lot 42: a 20th Century taxidermy study entitled ‘The White Dodo Reunion’

Lot 42: a 20th Century taxidermy study entitled ‘The White Dodo Reunion’

The rare taxidermy lots up for grabs in the forthcoming Museum sale, however, form a pretty unique collection; many of which may not be seen again at auction for some time. One such example of this is Lot 42: a 20th Century taxidermy study entitled ‘The White Dodo Reunion’.

Featuring white feathers, a brown forehead, green bill, and mounted on a wooden base, it will no doubt be of interest to collectors because of the extinct nature of the subject matter and its creator’s imaginative take on the subject matter. Whilst it must be noted that this is a reproduction piece and not a genuine Dodo – the few remaining real examples are mostly limited to scientific study or the collections of major, national museums – it is expected the lot will go on to achieve a good price on the day due to its curiosity value.

Closer to these shores – and of more interest to the serious collector – lot 40 represents a species which, until recently, was extinct in the UK. This 19th Century taxidermy study of a Wild Boar’s head is set within a hunting horn; with ribbon to the top, and mounted on a wooden shield the lot is guided at £100-200.

Similar in stature, though its native habitat is to be found slightly further afield than rural Britain and Europe, lot 41 is a fantastic late 19th Century study of a Warthog mounted on a wooden shield. Guided at £80-120, the Warthog is another piece not often seen at auction and is expected to generate considerable interest amongst collectors.
Last, but by no means least, comes perhaps the rarest opportunity of the section; lot 81: a ‘C. Farlow & Co. Ltd’ mahogany fishing tackle cabinet, which will be of considerable interest to collectors of fishing memorabilia. Whilst it is not a taxidermy study per se, it is extremely rare – with makers C. Farlow & Co. a world-famous hunting, fishing and shooting firm based in London and having a rich tradition of production in country sports equipment dating back to the 19th Century. It is believed this cabinet was made bespoke for its store originally located on The Strand; evidence of which can be found on the label to the front of the cabinet bearing, ‘C. Farlow & Co.Ltd., 191 Strand, London’. Other features of this handsome piece include a full-length hinged lid enclosing an open compartment, with central two-door glazed cabinet below, flanked by a panelled cupboard to either side. The cabinet, which would make a fantastic storage piece for the serious angler or display item for a vintage collection, is guided at £1000-2000.

Alongside the sporting section, the catalogue of the Stratford Armouries Museum Auction will include lots derived primarily from arms and armour spanning various periods and continents; as the museum retains its Civil War, WWI and WWII collections to focus on the retelling of these historic conflicts.

The auction will take place on Saturday, 28th March at the Stratford Armouries museum, with viewing taking place for three full days prior to the sale. The full catalogue will be available to view online at www.cuttlestones.co.uk from the beginning of March; with commission, telephone and live online bidding options for those unable to attend the sale in person. For more information, call Cuttlestones on 01785 714905.

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