A unique piece of Victorian taxidermy is to set to make thousands of pounds when it is sold this June, in Tennants Auctioneers’ Natural History and Taxidermy Sale. ‘Boxing Badgers’ is one of only two known anthropomorphic taxidermy cases made by Peter Spicer, one of the top Victorian taxidermists. Spicer (1839-1935) worked from his shop in Leamington Spa during the heyday of taxidermy in the later years of Victoria’s reign and the Edwardian era, producing taxidermy specimens of the highest quality.
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The Boxing Badgers
However, this an almost unique example of anthropomorphic taxidermy by Spicer. A Victorian craze, and popular with Queen Victoria herself, anthropomorphic scenes show animals posed in human activities and imbued with human characteristics. Made famous by the likes of Herman Ploucquet and Walter Potter, anthropomorphic taxidermy may be a little macabre by today’s standards, but it is becoming increasingly sought after by collectors today.
Purchased by the vendor some forty years ago for £21, the case is now offered with an estimate of £3,000-5,000 (plus buyer’s premium). The scene shows two badger cubs standing face to face in a proper boxing stance, glove to glove, against a beautifully painted woodland scene, and includes Spicer’s signature, painted on a large pebble on the floor of the case.
The sale of Specimens and Material derived from Endangered Species
All auction entries at Tennants are sold strictly in accordance with CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) regulations, and any necessary licences or Pre-sale approvals are obtained from Animal Health, Bristol.
22nd January 2020, 10:30
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