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Natural History

Natural History

Birds & Mammals

There are about 1,200 specimens in the taxidermy collection and a few more in the skeletal collection, mainly British bird species. The majority of specimens come from two large Victorian collections without data. In the last few decades, the most frequent method of acquisition has been from members of the public and staff bringing road casualty corpses in, which are then deep-frozen. From time to time, a batch is sent to a taxidermist and mounted for the collection.

There are no larger mammal species present – the largest British specimen in the collection is muntjac but we do have a red-necked wallaby which died in captivity in Whipsnade Zoo.

Our most significant specimens are a great bustard, bald eagle and a northern oriole which was found in Coventry – the bird is native to North America and rarely found in Britain.

We have some interesting cased specimens made by significant taxidermists such as Henry Ward, Roland Ward and Hutchings of Aberystwyth. We also have several cases by the well known taxidermist Peter Spicer and Sons of Leamington Spa. Spicer's produced cases of exceptional quality from 1798 until the 1960s. Their cases are known for the use of wooden beading and high quality painted background and diorama. You can see some of their cased fish in What's in Store.

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