Van Ingen is one of the most famous names in taxidermy, synonymous with very high quality products. Their work, tigers and panthers especially, was outstanding and remains a familiar and distinctive sight in auction sales and in museums even today. Their customers included much of the Indian nobility as well as the highest ranks of British society in colonial times: all despite their being based in a small town in southern India. This book attempts to provide a context for their work and an explanation of how it was carried out. It also serves as a record of one of the pinnacles in the history of taxidermy. Their factory employed 150 people at one time, probably the largest taxidermy operation in the world, processing 400 tigers and 600 leopards each year (that’s an average of 8 tigers every week!). Their order books confirm these incredible numbers and provide an almost complete record back to the 1890s.
Based on three visits to India, and extensive research, this book records the achievements of the van Ingens, describing in detail how they managed to operate on such a scale without getting customer’s trophies lost or mixed up, and still maintaining the highest quality output. The book comprises over 45,000 words, 172 pages. There are 4 pages of colour plates and more than 450 black and white images and line drawings of the factory, its operation and its output. The entire text of the van Ingen’s own book The Preservation of Shikar Trophies is also reproduced. That is a fascinating book in its own right, but is now a scarce item in the antiquarian book trade and difficult to obtain.
By: [Pat Morris]
Item Location: London