This year Boningtons have been fortunate enough to consign a significant number of fine examples of antique taxidermy. Far from being seen as gruesome, antiquated curiosities, many works are extremely decorative and much sought after by not only specialist collectors by also interior designers. Unsurprisingly, birds are particularly popular and consistently the most successful sellers at auction.
In the last few months alone Boningtons has sold numerous avian taxidermy examples in its fortnightly Interiors auctions. The best sellers have proved to be Victorian glass domed works containing multiple specimens of small, colourful exotic birds, taxidermy giraffe. A particularly fine work by the noted 19th century taxidermist Lead Beater & Son went under the hammer in Boningtons’ Interiors auction on 22nd April (pictured). Estimated at £400-600, it drew fierce bidding from two telephone bidders before selling to one for a hammer price of £1400, just beating the price paid for a similar example in the previous sale which sold for £1300. Both works were in excellent condition – a particularly important factor for taxidermy collectors – and of a good size (approximately 2 foot high), although they could not quite match the record £6000 paid previously at Boningtons for a domed work of a similar nature.
However, it is not only birds that have been flying through the saleroom doors. Recent months have seen Boningtons successfully auction everything from a stuffed giraffe head and neck (realised £4800) to a taxidermy shark worthy of Damien Hirst! Boningtons’ next Interiors auction on 7th May looks set to continue the taxidermy trend with around ten lots on offer with everything ranging from birds to a tiger skin!
So if you have any antique taxidermy you are considering selling, be sure to contact Boningtons for a free valuation – it’s unlikely you’ll be told to get stuffed!