Taxidermy – Book Review

It seems we never have enough of this book in the shop – Taxidermy by Alexis Turner.


I remember when it came out last year and first saw it in a bookshop in Oxford, with a Taxidermy Elephant on the front it is gonna be a hard one not to pick up. Taxidermy has been an interior trend for quite a while now and something I can’t see slowing quite yet although maybe I am blinkered as it is something we love and have a few pieces and home ourselves and have sold many pieces through the store, each getting slightly harder to part with. We often have a piece of Taxidermy in our window, it always grabs attention not always attention of love but attention.  This post is mainly going to be a book review but I feel it may get a bit more added to it than that.


The book is written by Alexis Turner who is the founder of London Taxidermy and a dealer of Taxidermy so although I am a fan Im no expert. So there is a lot to learn and this guy really know his stuff so has been a very informative read. Firstly though there are some amazing pictures of still lifes, spaces and artworks.

The first section is Museums. Many museums have lost their Taxidermy collections mainly due to distaste in the early 20th century but there are many still out there with great collections. Living in Bristol this must be my first one. I have visited it a few times and have always had extra time to stop at the Taxidermy mainly of the 19th Century and one of the main way animals were studied in the Victorian times. Turner gives great insight into the long history of taxidermy and its resurgence in popularity. There are a number of Museums covered within the first few pages along side pictures from Deyrolle in Paris and the Ipswich Museum in Suffolk. Both places have incredibly collections, it really gives you a taste of the avenues this book will explore right from the first few pages.


It could have been easy for the author of this book to write a few pages on how cool taxidermy is at the moment dot a few wow factor pictures here and here and be done with it. this book does have those wow factor pictures but it covers so much more than just that. Turner goes into detail about the history of taxidermy exploring its fall from grace after the first World War to its recent resurgence in popularity just after the turn of the century.

The book really stands out for me by the way it writes about all the pictures within it. It really give you a better understanding on what you are looking at, whether its admiring the taxidermy that’s exhibited in a beautiful dilapidated Museum in Cairo or reading up on Bristol’s own ‘Alfred the Gorilla’ who passed away in this cities zoo back in 1948 and is now on show in the Bristol city Museum.

The book continues by looking into how interior designers are using taxidermy more to add something extra to rooms obviously this part of the book is a big draw for me due to the nature of my work, but the writer doesn’t stop there. The  freaks and fakes section is what really sets the book apart from others. where most people are content with sticking to the aesthetically pleasing side of the art the freaks and fakes section explores the weirder side of it all,information and pictures on fake and genuine deformed lambs anyone?? why anyone would want to fake mother natures unfortunate mistakes is beyond me but from a historical view I can see its worth in preserving the genuine article.


The book concludes with how taxidermy has gone full circle and is now being used to promote and sell items whether its being photographed for advertising campaigns for the likes of Chanel or erotic lingerie brand Coco De Mer or being used by artist as part of their work from the likes of Kate MccGwire or Polly Morgan

The book is £19.95 and we have it available in store or online here – Dig Haüshizzle Store A great price for a hardbacked book with a hell of a lot of content that is pretty easy to go back to again and again.




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