Taxidermy – love or loathe?

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Taxidermy at St. Ouen Flea in Paris featuring Zebra taxiderm, horns, ostrich taxidermy

Taxidermy at the St. Ouen Flea in Paris - Zebras, Ostrich and Monkey's oh my!

Taxidermy Birds

Taxidermy Birds

Taxidermy Museum in Paris - Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature

Taxidermy Museum in Paris - Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature

Taxidermy in Interior Design

One of the most visually arresting ways to add intrigue and character to a room is through the use of taxidermy.  It makes a statement as bold as the wildest wallpaper or furniture piece, as big as any super saturated color palette can do.  And what I find so interesting about taxidermy is that is can be done really well, or it can be done really poorly.  I think we've all seen cabins and hunting lodges that were just distastefully 'rural' in their design, but we've also seen taxidermy blended with modern twists to ensure a fresh feel. On a recent trip to Paris we saw lots of Taxidermy.  We visited the St. Ouen Flea market where there was a vendor with tons of exotic, rare, and unusual taxidermy.  We also visited Deyrolle (a vast taxidermy shop) and Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature (which has a vast collection of exotic taxidermy from a private collection).  To the French, using taxidermy in interior design is quite chic and rarely has the resistance that it has here in the states.  You can see they have giraffe's, zebras, and a whole slew of exotic and african taxidermy that would make the US border patrol and animal protection agencies cringe.  To the French, it is art, and a way to preserve the beauty that is nature and to showcase it within the home.  And broadly speaking, I tend to agree with them (with exceptions of course).  I can't help but admire the beauty that is a zebra's coat, or the wild swirling horns of a Kudu, or the unique 'mask' pattern that you find on a gemsbok. And speaking of gemsboks (is that the plural of gemsbok), we just picked one up for a client, and we're trying to talk him into a full size (entire body) piece of taxidermy as well.  Lets see if he goes for it.  Can't wait to share the design with you all once we finish the project this winter/spring.  If you're looking for a few other designs of ours with taxidermy, check out my home design which features two small pair of antlers, or the downtown Chicago interior design project which features some horn lamps in our portfolio.

So what's your opinion - love or loathe the use of taxidermy in interior design?

For me taxidermy is a way to bring the beauty of the outdoors, indoors, so I have to say that when done right, I love it. As an aside - I do want to reassure some anti-taxidermy folks that there are humane ways to acquire taxidermy.  I have a vendor who actually sources all their animals from Zoos where animals have died of natural causes.  And beyond that, I've actually seen a faux rhino that was so realistic I would have bet my life that it was the real thing, but in fact it was all made of plastics, clays, fiberglass, and makeup.  So if you love the look, but want to ensure no animals were harmed, that's an option, for a certain price.

I completely agree with you on taxidermy being visually arresting. As an animal lover, I am a little taken aback by seeing such rare animals in this form, but can’t help but marvel at their beauty and the touch of eclecticism they’d add to any space.

  • I love the use of taxidermy as well, and more so when I know the story behind each piece. I have a home filled with hides and antlers ( done tastefully I might add) I think its an organic art form and I like the uniqueness it lends a home.

  • LOVE! I recently started decorating our entry hall with shoulder mounts, and can’t get enough. It all started with a wild boar, and just today I brought home a magnificent elk that now oversees our dining area. (He was too big for the entry). I think they are exquisite. Each piece honors the life of this animal and shares its beauty with those who may never see one in real life. I think they are beautiful, educational, and I feel I am doing a service in maintaining and caring for them. They really brought an edgy upscale feel to our previously boring entry. LOVE LOVE LOVE.