Taxidermy collection to be sold at auction

If you have always hankered after a stuffed parrot, your luck could be in - a Billingshurst auction house may have just what you want.

Part of the taxidermy collection which is to be sold at an auction in Billingshurst next month
Part of the taxidermy collection which is to be sold at an auction in Billingshurst next month

Summers Place Auctions have, in fact, a range of stuffed birds that are to go under the hammer next month.

They are part of a remarkable collection by some of the best Victorian taxidermists which are expected to sell for prices between £50 and £1,500.

The collection - The Barker collection - was started by an enthusiasist in the 1970s and will form part of a live auction on April 5.

A spokesperson for the auction house said: “As with many collections, it got slightly forgotten over the years as the pieces were all nicely stored in one of the rooms in the house. Until recently, when the current owner was reminded of his collection and realising that taxidermy is back in fashion, he thought that the collection should probably be on view again and find new owners who appreciate them as much as he did almost 50 years ago.”

Summers Place Auctions’ natural history specialist Errol Fuller said: “The collection is really quite wonderful and includes some fantastic examples of early Victorian taxidermy.

“Mainly from Hibbs, who was based in the Midlands, and Leadbeater, a first class taxidermist who worked from Golden Square, London. It also includes a stunning piece by the most famous taxidermist - Rowland Ward.”

Highlights of the collection include a case of various species of Harrier by Hibbs of Ollerton, which is late 19th century and almost one metre high and over one metre wide. Itis estimated to fetch £1,000 - £1,500.

A case of three Buzzards by the same taxidermist from that period and of a similar size, carries the same estimate as does a case of various Kestrels and Merlins with full data on reverse from 1894.

An impressive case of Whooper Swans made in the same studio but over one metre high and almost 150cm wide is estimated to sell for £800- £1,200.

But there also some lots by the same taxidermist whichare available at the lower end such as a case of an assortment of Warblers, including a Blue Throated, a Nightingale and Robin and several small British birds from 1892 – 1894, which is estimated at £200 - £300.

The Leadbeater of London lots are also in the region of £200 - £300, including two pairs of Geese, one of those lots Egyptian ones, but both from circa 1850.

Rowland Ward (1848 – 1912) was one of the most celebrated taxidermists and he catered for the rich and famous from his Piccadilly premises. This sale includes aKestrel in an all-glass case by him from circa 1920, which is estimated at £300 - £500.

Other notable lots include a case containing two Toucans and an assortment of Australian Parrots and Pittas from around 1900 (estimate £600 - £1,000), a pair of Sea Eagles dated 1891, and estimated to sell for £600 - £1,000, a pair of Eagle Owls from the late 19th century and a Golden Eagle, which is estimated to sell for between £500-£800.

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