Taxidermy Magpie and Jay

Circa 1820
Manufacturers Location
Wood, Glass, Jay, Magpie
Height 46cm, Width 51cm, Depth 19cm
Purchase Price


Two taxidermy birds in a Georgian display case


Bought in a second-hand shop

Personal history/nominator

Two of the most obnoxious birds in Britain, both egg stealers and squawking nuisances.  


None, good condition

Why it's in the Collection

Vermin in the bedroom. This is an example of a specimen case, with its flanged case and no fuss 'modern' display, reflecting the Georgian clean lines that were to be so influential on the Arts and Crafts and Modernist movements. The case would have originally been part of a large collection of taxidermy, an educational aid possibly from a public collection.

This piece may find its way into the Coniston Mechanics Institute as part of the ambition to restore the educational remit of that organisation. 

About the Manufacturer

Modern taxidermy was initally developed by Louise Dufresne based at the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris in the late 18th century. It was then was refined into a accurate, lifelike process in Victorian Britain, and intended to have pedagogical impact as well as aesthetic or decorative value. John Hancock, an ornithologist, developed a dramatised style of taxidermy which was exhibited at the Great Exhibition at London's Crystal Palace in 1851 and reportedly sparked a national interest in the practice and potential of the process. Taxidermy was considered anathema to certain values promoted by leading modernists: cleanliness, unsentimentality, the banishment of natural form.