A 92-Year-Old Woman Comes To The Office For Follow-Up Famous Taxidermists

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Famous Taxidermists

Martha Maxwell (1831-1881)

Martha Maxwell was one of the first women to collect and preserve her own furs. She was born in Pennsylvania but emigrated to the Colorado Territory in the 1860s during the first wave of the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, where she became an accomplished hunter. Inspired by the work of local taxidermists, she began skinning animals to make art. Interestingly, Maxwell was a vegetarian all his life.

A self-taught naturalist and artist, Maxwell’s work helped establish modern taxidermy and changed the face of natural history museums forever. She opened a museum in Boulder in 1868, and also exhibited her preserved animals and birds at the Colorado Agricultural Society Exhibition in Denver and the 1876 American Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

The Maxwell owl (Otus asio maxwelliae) is named after Martha Maxwell. She is the first female to have a subspecies named after her.

van ingen brothers

Van Ingen & Van Ingen is an Indian company specializing in taxidermy. In its heyday, it was run by brothers Botha, De Wet and Joubert Van Ingen, whose father, Eugene Van Ingen, was the founder of the taxidermy business. Van Ingens lived and worked in Mysore in the southern Indian state of Karnataka and were known for their headgear, full body mounts, flat animal rugs and carpeted mounts with heads attached. Author Pat Morris interviewed the 92-year-old Joubert in 2004 for the book “Van Engen & Van Engen – The Taxidermy Artists.” Joubert is the only surviving of the three brothers.

In lifelike pose the Van Ingen brothers hold the shikhar hunting trophies for the Maharaja of India. Their work is considered unmatched by any other taxidermist in the world. The family mainly worked with tigers, leopards and bears and their book The Preservation of Shikar Trophies by Mysore Taxidermy Artist is considered an important source of information on the large number of wild leopards and tigers once found in the wild.

The company was active from the beginning of the last century until 1998.

Louis Dufresne (1752-1832)

Louis Dufresne was one of the naturalists who embarked on a remarkable journey aboard the Astrolabe. The ship first sailed to Madeira, Tenerife, Trinidad and the coast of Brazil. It then rounded Cape Horn and made landfall at Concepcion and the Sandwich Islands. The journey continues along the northern coast of America all the way to Alaska. After visiting Monterey, the expedition crossed the Pacific Ocean and landed in Macau, China. Eventually, the ship returned to France with a wealth of knowledge.

In 1793, Dufresne began working as a taxidermist and curator at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. In the early 1800s, he popularized the use of arsenic-based soap to preserve birds—a technique that made it possible for museums to build the largest collection of birds in the world.

Dufresne also owns a private collection. By 1818, he had collected some 1,600 specimens of birds, 800 eggs, and 12,000 insects from around the world. The collection also includes many shells, fossils, corals and amphibians. The collection is now part of the Royal Museums of Scotland following its acquisition by the University of Edinburgh in 1819.

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