Whether you love or hate taxidermy, the undisputable fact is that the trade in vintage items is still going very strong.
Van Ingen & Van Ingen are widely noted as one of the best Victorian producers of large game pieces, heads and rugs. Based in Mysore, India the firm was run by three brothers Botha, De Wet and Joubert Van Ingen who were trained by their father and founder of the taxidermy firm, Eugene Van Ingen. They employed almost 100 employees in the time of great demand between 1900-1960.
What sets Van Ingen apart from their competitors and many of the specimens still in auction houses today is their lifelike rendering of the animals. From the examples included here you can see the poses and vivid expressions they specialised in. In their heyday they were responsible for around 400 tigers and leopards a year – certainly quite tragic but evidence of the demand for their products from the Maharajas of India and those wishing to preserve their hunting trophies.
Business boomed for Van Ingen but as the 1960’s approached public demand decreased in hand with the legislation against big game hunting. The firm remained active right up until 1998 with very few workers, although a world now changed and with the endangered species of tiger no longer being a hunting target, the firm had no choice but to close its doors. Van Ingen pieces in good condition command a high price at auction these days, so if you have one consider yourself in possession of a sound investment!