Item ID 72202
Norwich, T. E. Gunn, pre-1923. Taxidermy cased (40 x 30 x 15 cm) in naturalistic setting. Black wooden case with glass front; interior painted light blue. Printed label on rear board. A fine, wonderfully preserved taxidermy cased specimen of the Eurasian sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus (Linnaeus) [German: Sperber; French épervier]. This little bird is one of Europe's most ferocious birds-of-prey, even hunting in city gardens. Typical live-span is four years, but the oldest one known lived for more than 20 years. Currently the sparrowhawk is recovering from a population crash in the 1950-1980's due to pesticides. This specimen, however, is much older, probably dating from the late 19th or early 20th century, predating 1923. The case differs from most such cases in having a more detailed and naturalistic setting. This is the work of the renowned British taxidermist Thomas Edward Gunn (1844-1923) of Norwich. With a label of his firm mounted on the rear board. The label provides a great deal of information on the scope of his business, including the sale of many different natural history objects, such as eggs, insects, preserved reptiles, fish, etc., etc. "Thomas Gunn ... was born at Norwich in Norfolk. ... Gun was apprenticed to John Sayer, a Norwich taxidermist, taking over the business on Sayer's death. A master craftsman, Gunn won medals and honours for his skill in the art of taxidermy.... He ran the business [until] 1923 bearing his name. His son Frederick retired from his father's business in 1941... The firm closed its doors in 1950" (from the website, taxidermy4cash dotcom). Case with some wear, the label partly soiled and worn, the interior clean and fresh. A beautiful example of taxidermy as a skill and an art.