The beginning of taxidermy can be tracked back to the 16th century Holland. There a noble had collected a large number of tropical birds which he kept in a aviary. One day the birds were suffocated by the escaping fumes from the stove which kept the aviary warm with.

The man did not want to throw the dead birds away, so he consulted some of the best chemists in Holland about how to preserve the birds.

They adviced him to skin the birds and preserve the skins by filling them with "spices from Indonesia".
The man did as he was told and used iron wires to mount the birds onto perches.
He continued with his new hobby, and although the specimen did not look very natural, he was one of the first people who started a collection of stuffed birds.

taxidermy01This, you can say, was the beginning of taxidermy as we know it today.

The art of stuffing animals is about 350 years old.
The oldest know specimen we know is a rhinocerus, stuffed in 1600. The animal is still exhibited in Florence, Italy.
Which kind of taxidermy technic was used, is still unknown.

One if the most famous businesses of taxidermy  was founded in London, by Henry Ward in 1820. Ward was a taxidermist, who had travelled the world, and produced some of the most skilfull examples of taxidermy, still to be seen in many museum collections His business "Wards of London" was contined by his sons.