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Taxidermy is a part of both our social and natural history. This book provides a review of the development, over 300 years, of mammal and bird taxidermy, including elephants and even humans, and considers the attempts to locate the oldest existing stuffed animals.
The controversy regarding the use of arsenic as a preservative is assessed whilst several chapters describe in detail how taxidermy businesses operated in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Their different styles of products, trade labels and their major groups of customers, ranging from huntsmen to bird collectors and householders, are described, with many quirky stories, historical snippets and wry comments.
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 organisations now strive to attain perfection in this field of artistic endeavour, benfitting from new skills and materials.