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Later Developments

Although the earliest known pieces of taxidermy date from the beginning of the sixteenth century, the development and perfection of taxidermic techniques are intimately linked to Western Europe’s fascination with the natural world through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  From the late seventeenth century onwards, the improvement of taxidermic practices is inseparable from the scientific investigation of the natural world.

birds.jpgWhat began as an essential practice for naturalists in their investigations of nature, became in the nineteenth century nothing sort of a fashion craze: in Europe, Britain, and North America the general public quite literally fell in love with nature whether it was alive or dead.  Far from being a quaint hobby, the nineteenth-century passion for natural history changed the way people understood and interacted with nature. The love of nature was only increased with knowledge of its many and various parts and was therefore not incompatible with shooting, skinning, and displaying animals in museums, parlour, and even on hats.

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