Historical Victorian Taxidermy

Rowland Ward Taxidermy

Taxidermy4Cash.com

Rowland Ward Taxidermy.
Taxidemist to Big Game Hunters of a previous era. Regarded by many as the finest British historical taxidermist of his time.


We are interested in Purchasing Victorian Taxidermy, please respond via this on-line form of what you have for sale. HERE

Victorian Taxidermy, a Historical Perspective of British specimens

For a detailed insight into this fascinating world of preserved natural history by Rowland Ward, you might wish to consider reading well researched book by Mr Robert Chinnery and Mr Christoher Frost, who have reserached Rowland Ward. Both books are well executed, with photographs and are now collector’s items in their own right. To find them, simply research the names on the internet. Also a more recent publish work undertaken by Pat Morris, entitled, Rowland Ward -Taxidermist to the World (Morris 2003. This book is well worth reading and owning a copy. Some are sold on Ebay and specialist book dealers.

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Rowland Ward, 1835-1912. This company was started by his Father, Henry Ward, who worked with the noted John James Audubon, an American Naturalist of his time. Rowland significantly expanded the business during the heyday of Big Game Hunting.

Rowland Ward

During the time he worked with his father, he began producing things on his own account. Early on in his career, he modeled two Horse heads which were seen by someone he described as 'A very wealthy man who had acquired riches during the American War'. As a result he was commissioned to mount a series of animal heads which were to adorn the walls of a large house his customer was at that time having built. The capital acquired from this project enabled him to leave his fathers employment, as his brother Edwin had already done, and go into business in his own right. He began, around 1872, at 27, Harley Street trading as 'J Rowland Ward'. He moved to 158, Piccadilly after a few years, at which time his business became known as 'Ward & Co. Ltd', although he retained his Harley Street premises until his death.
In 1879, the year his brother Edwin retired and a year after his fathers death, he transferred his studios from 158, Piccadilly to larger premises at number 166; 167 also came into his possession, perhaps at a slightly later date. In 1898, the business became, and remained, 'Rowland Ward Ltd.'. He says of his early days : "My ambition was to begin at that point in taxidermy where the old-school had left off. Instead of merely stuffing the skins of animals with quite a secondary regard to shape, I determined to study nature and adapt it, in connection with modelling, to the taxidermists' art."
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Newspaper cutting depicting Rowland Ward and the then King at Ward's exhibition of sub-continent animals. Rather nice image and thanks Mr Sailor for its unrestricted use. Would make a lovely print. Go to www.taxidermycollector.com and there you can download a large format printable version of this image for free.

Royal Connections

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Newspaper cutting depicting Rowland Ward and the then King Edward VII

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Newspaper cutting depicting Rowland Ward and the then King Edward VII

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Newspaper cutting depicting Rowland Ward promotion literature

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Hummingbird, Longtailed Emerald Sylph by George Butt under the banner of Rowland Ward at the time. This case has two labels to demonstrate this association. Very decorative case and so typical of the era.

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Corncrakes by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Goosanders with Brown Trout prey by Rowland Ward. After a 4 year wait to obtain this case, these birds are now in my private collection and are not for sale, never for sale actually. Ward's trade-mark of the period is etched in the font pain of glass. The quality and attention to detail is however obvious. The choice of a box case means that even after nearly 100 years the birds show very little sign of fading. The only minor issue is that both birds are female.

Rowland Ward Ltd. Of Piccadilly became and remained for many years the largest and most famous taxidermy firm in the world. They specialized in, and were renowned for, their work on big game trophies, but their output covered all aspects of taxidermy. Rowland Ward was trained by his father Henry, himself a very well-known taxidermist in his day, to whom he dedicated his book on taxidermy, The Sportsman's Handbook. Henry Ward did take part in some of John Audubons expeditions across North American.
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Parrot by Rowland Ward. This was Captain Vivian Hewitt's personal pet that travelled with him. When travelling by train the parrot was awarded its own "First Class Seat". Vivian Hewitt was perhaps better known for his private collection of Great Auks and their eggs. After his death most of his collection was sold by private treaty and is now dispersed globally by Taxidermy dealers. Forgive us if we fail to thank them for this undertaking as we collect for the pleasure and not the profit. Profit is not value by the way only an additional cost by people offering no real value.

We know rather more about Rowland Ward (1848-1912), the youngest and most famous member of the family, than we do about the father or brother, partly through countless references to his business in magazines and newspapers, but more particularly through his autobiography A Naturalist's Life Study in the Art of Taxidermy. This was published in 1913, the year following his death, by his own publishing company for private circulation. It was printed in a very small edition, possibly as few as fifty copies. Not only is the book therefore rare, it is also a rare kind of book, and is indeed unique in being the only autobiography of a commercial British taxidermist of this era.
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Scottish Wildcat, with Rabbit prey. This is the work of Rowland Ward

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Interesting insight into the data that goes into cases. This is from the case above.

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Pink Billed Duck from Natal by Rowland Ward, lovely data lable with who it was presented to. Not for sale.

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Full mount of an African Lion by Rowland Ward.

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Alpine Chough by Rowland Ward

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Alpine Chough by Rowland Ward

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Little Owl by Rowland Ward

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British seabirds by George Butt

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Arctic Fox by Rowland Ward

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Egyption Goose diorama by Rowland Ward

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Rock Dove diorama by Rowland Ward

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Gadwall diorama by Rowland Ward

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Shag diorama by Rowland Ward

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Ring Plover diorama by Rowland Ward

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Ruppell's vulture head in close up by Rowland Ward.

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Tiger by Rowland Ward

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Shelduck in close up by Rowland Ward.

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Aardvark head by Rowland Ward.

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Here we have a Merlin by Rowland Ward dated 1917. We suggested to the owner that they should send this to either Christies and or Bonhams for the best price. However if one of you avid fans of 5 sided glass cases wishes to own it then contact us and we will provide the sellers details. However expect to pay in excess of £450.00 to own it. Not the best image but we do have a lot more if you require them. We will update you as to what it makes and is sent to auction where it goes for fair opportunity for all.

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Close up of the above case

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Cheetah by Rowland Ward. This is a large wrap around case to demonstrate that wrap around cases need to be large.Small cases just look cramped and contrived as seen so many times. A fantastic example of "British Historical Taxidermy"

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Phalarope by Rowland Ward. inscription reads "Stanhope 1922, Killed in Telegraph Wires".Unusual for a northern migratory bird to be found that close to London.

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Large case of exotic birds by Henry Ward.

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European Eagle Owl by Rowland Ward.

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European Eagle Owl by Rowland Ward.

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European Eagle Owl by Rowland Ward.

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Toucan by Henry Ward.

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Hippo Skull by Rowland Ward.

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Common Buzzard by Rowland Ward.

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Pair of Exotic birds and animals by George Butt. "British Historical Taxidermy" at its finest

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Pair of Exotic birds and animals by George Butt. Above cases in close up

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Pair of Exotic birds and animals by George Butt. Above cases in close up

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Red Billed Duck by Rowland Ward.

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Pygmy Geese by Rowland Ward.

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Stoat by Rowland Ward.

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Dome of Ruffs (male) likely to be by Henry Ward.

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Himalyan Black Bear by Rowland Ward.

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Bear Skull by Rowland Ward.

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Alaskan Brown Bear by Rowland Ward.

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Completed Dodo by Rowland Ward.

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Trout by Rowland Ward. Fish produced by Ward were not their best work.

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Perhaps not Rowland Ward's finest hour. Ink well made from a Leopard skull.

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Kiwi's by George Butt, who worked for the firm of Rowland Ward. The distinctive black label with gold writing is evident to the bottom left of this picture. The groundwork and attention to detail is also superb.

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Kiwi's by George Butt, who worked for the firm of Rowland Ward.

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Kiwi's by George Butt, who worked for the firm of Rowland Ward.

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Pair of European Lynx with Rat prey by George Butt.

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Large case of exotic birds by George Butt.

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Large case of cinnamon Pheasants by Rowland Ward.

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Ward's trademark etched glass from the case above.

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Water Rail by Rowland Ward.

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North American Snow Goose by Rowland Ward.

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Badger's paw by Rowland Ward.

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Little Bustard by Rowland Ward.

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European Hobbies by Rowland Ward.

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Albatross Head by Henry Ward. 'Albatross caught on board the Lady Jocelyn in the South Pacific Ocean, by H.Ward 1873'

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Tropical birds firescreen by Rowland Ward.

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Sparrow Hawk and Jay by George Butt who worked at Ward's.

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Asiatic Jungle Fowl by Rowland Ward.

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Rupell's Vulture by Rowland Ward.

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Lion by Rowland Ward.

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Lion by Rowland Ward.

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Cased Toucans by Henry Ward.

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Tiger by Rowland Ward.

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Eagle Owl by Rowland Ward.

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Asian Pheasants by Henry Ward.

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Walrus skull and tusks by Rowland Ward.

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St Bernard's dogs head by Rowland Ward.

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Snow Leopard by Rowland Ward.

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Bengal Tiger by Rowland Ward.

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Kentish Plovers by Rowland Ward.

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Leopard by Rowland Ward.

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Pike by Rowland Ward.

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Jaguar by Rowland Ward.

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Jaguar by Rowland Ward.

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Exotic birds by Henry Ward.

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Elephant foot by Rowland Ward.

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Badger by Rowland Ward.

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Candlestick with Lion's paw by Rowland Ward.

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Colobus Monkey in a comical / shameful pose by Rowland Ward.

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Trade label by Henry Ward.

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Male Hen Harrier by Rowland Ward.

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Spotted Redshank label by Rowland Ward.

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Pheasants by Henry Ward.
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Monal Pheasant by Henry Ward.
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Black Grouse by Henry Ward. These birds are in fantastic condition, one of a kind and are featured in Frost's book on taxidermy. This is a serious case for a serious collector.

Rowland Ward / Wardian Furniture

Rowland Ward was in the habit of claiming to have invented practically everything with which he was in any way connected (we have experienced a similar misguided person in recent years!!!). One such invention was what he called 'Wardian furniture', this being the transformation of animals, or parts of animals, into useful or ornamental everyday articles. He began by introducing 'zoological lamps' in 1872, which were lamps made from birds or animals in various attitudes. Birds of Paradise, Scarlet Ibises and Monkeys lent themselves - less than willingly, one assumes - particularly well to this purpose. Other creations included giant Indian Tortoises with hollowed out backs as musical boxes, Alligators with hollowed out stomachs standing erect on their hind legs as cigar boxes, Tigers skulls as bedroom lamps, Emu egg sugar basins and Stag antler cutlery. George Butt, the former manager, and by then proprietor, of Edwin Wards establishment in Wigmore Street was still producing 'animal furniture' of his own in a very similar vein at this time, which may have been a reason for Ward registering his designs.
Practically any species could be usefully employed in this slightly bizarre branch of taxidermy, as Ward explains: "Elephants do not at first glance seem to lend themselves as articles for household decoration, and yet I have found them most adaptable for that purpose." The head of the Elephant would normally be mounted as a trophy, the hide could be turned into table tops or trays, and the feet converted into drinks cabinets, sewing boxes, waste paper baskets or stools. Ward even turned an entire famous small Elephant called 'Tiny' into a hall porter's chair, hollowing out the inside to form the seat. Other eccentric furniture designs included Crocodile umbrella stands, Snake tables and Elephant skin or rib-bone chairs. One of the Prince and Princesses of Wales silver wedding presents in 1888 was a Crocodile mounted as a dumb waiter. He also mounted Bears as dumb waiters, his designs for which, he tells us, were copied in all directions following his introduction of them to the public in 1876, but of course his brother Edwin, and doubtless others, was manufacturing them long before him in reality. Horses hooves were particularly adaptable: they would usually be mounted in silver or bronze in a choice of nearly a hundred different designs, including ink pots, tobacco jars, bells, cigar stands, spirit lamps, card and match boxes and trinket cases.
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Victorian Skylark by Rowland Ward.

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Pheasants by Henry Ward.

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Pheasants by Henry Ward.

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Pheasants by Henry Ward.

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Hedgehog by Rowland Ward.

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Rough Legged Buzzard by Rowland Ward.

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Redshank in flight by Rowland Ward.

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Fox cub by Rowland Ward.

Old references to members of the Ward family are occasionally ambiguous, for Henry Ward was actually Edwin Henry Ward, as was Edwin; a reference merely to E.Ward does not therefore necessarily imply it is Edwin. Rowland was actually James Rowland Ward, and used his first name at the beginning of his career (although not for long). The earliest case, so far as is known, by Rowland Ward is of a pair of Peregrine Falcons. It resides now in Glasgow Museum, and is signed 'James Ward' on one of the leaves inside the case, and dated 1868; it was thus executed when he was 20 years old. At the Colonial and Indian Exhibition at South Kensington in 1886 for example, he had four separate exhibits. The first of these represented a hunting scene in a dense jungle: an Elephant had come upon a group of Tigers, one of which was depicted in making a ferocious attack upon it. Other Tigers were nearby amidst the tall grasses and bamboo copses. ("I had been at great disadvantage in arranging this for want of space.") Ward tells us that he spent 30 hours at a stretch on the preparation of one particularly fierce Tiger in this group. ("It is a curious fact, not generally known, that most of the expression of a Tigers face is gained by the disposition of the whiskers.").
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Victorian Black Rhino head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Turtle head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian African Hunting Dog head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Leopard head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Wilderbest head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Hyena head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Jebba Buffalo head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Elephants foot umbrella stand by Rowland Ward. Nothing from the animal was wasted if it had a practical use.

He visited the zoo specifically to study a Tigers face. He made one snarl by rattling the bars of its cage, noted the effect this had on the disposition of its whiskers, and arranged those on his mounted Tiger in precisely the same way. The second of his four displays at this exhibition was much larger, and was entitled 'Jungle Life'. The display included an Elephant, more Tigers, Antelopes and Alligators. (The latter do not, of course, occur in India, and he probably meant to say Crocodiles, unless the latter were unobtainable at the time, in which case scientific accuracy may have become secondary to the overall effect.)
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Victorian Great Auk by Rowland Ward. These were copies of the birds that were extinct before Wards were established. Therefore Ward's used Mures, Razorbills to create what you see here. This one however is an original that has been restored at Wards.

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Victorian Tigers head by Rowland Ward.

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Kingfishers in an unsual configeration by Rowland Ward.

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Postcard of a Terrier by Rowland Ward.

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Male Pheasant by Rowland Ward.

Weeks of work went into setting it up in the exhibition hall, and the whole area was enclosed in sheets of plate glass covered in banyan, both real and painted on a canvas. Ward had been promised a load of Indian grasses, but when it became apparent that they were not going to arrive in time, he went up to Norfolk and collected 'loads of Norfolk reeds and rushes, dead trees and things of that description' to take their place. The Indian grasses in fact arrived shortly after he had completed the display, so he put one of them in as well. The Indian palms, which also arrived late, were placed in position around the perimeter of the group, but the authorities had them sprayed with silica as a fire precaution. They unfortunately could not avoid also spraying the plate glass which made it look as if it had been raining - not at all the effect intended - so this had at the last minute to be polished from top to bottom. This was his first 'Jungle', and made a great impression, with over 10,000 people visiting the exhibition on August Bank Holiday alone. Ward introduced two other 'Jungles' both at Earl's Court in 1895 and 1896, one which produced ?10,000 in gate money. Some of the other international exhibitions at which he appeared are listed in his advertisement. As a result principally of the 1886 exhibition, 'The Jungle' came and remained the Rowland Ward trademark, as illustrated by the label commonly found on his cases.


P1010004 (777K)
Barnacle Goose, shot on the Island of Jura in 1925, preserved by The Rowland Ward Company Ltd. This is a good exmaple of the 5 sided glass construction.
Rowland Ward was in the habit of claiming to have invented practically everything with which he was in any way connected. One such invention was what he called 'Wardian furniture', this being the transformation of animals, or parts of animals, into useful or ornamental everyday articles. He began by introducing 'zoological lamps' in 1872, which were lamps made from birds or animals in various attitudes. Birds of Paradise, Scarlet Ibises and Monkeys lent themselves - less than willingly, one assumes - particularly well to this purpose. Other creations included giant Indian Tortoises with hollowed out backs as musical boxes, Alligators with hollowed out stomachs standing erect on their hind legs as cigar boxes, Tigers skulls as bedroom lamps, Emu egg sugar basins and Stag antler cutlery. George Butt, the former manager, and by then proprietor, of Edwin Wards establishment in Wigmore Street was still producing 'animal furniture' of his own in a very similar vein at this time, which may have been a reason for Ward registering his designs.
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Phalanger by Rowland Ward.

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Horse Hooves by Rowland Ward. These were created by George Butt.

Practically any species could be usefully employed in this slightly bizarre branch of taxidermy, as Ward explains: "Elephants do not at first glance seem to lend themselves as articles for household decoration, and yet I have found them most adaptable for that purpose." The head of the Elephant would normally be mounted as a trophy, the hide could be turned into table tops or trays, and the feet converted into drinks cabinets, sewing boxes, waste paper baskets or stools. Ward even turned an entire famous small Elephant called 'Tiny' into a hall porter's chair, hollowing out the inside to form the seat. Other eccentric furniture designs included Crocodile umbrella stands, Snake tables and Elephant skin or rib-bone chairs. One of the Prince and Princesses of Wales silver wedding presents in 1888 was a Crocodile mounted as a dumb waiter. He also mounted Bears as dumb waiters, his designs for which, he tells us, were copied in all directions following his introduction of them to the public in 1876, but of course his brother Edwin, and doubtless others, was manufacturing them long before him in reality. Horses hooves were particularly adaptable: they would usually be mounted in silver or bronze in a choice of nearly a hundred different designs, including ink pots, tobacco jars, bells, cigar stands, spirit lamps, card and match boxes and trinket cases.
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Victorian Capercailles by Rowland Ward.

He formed his own publishing company, 'Rowland Ward Ltd.', and between 1880 and 1911 published over 30 books, practically all on big game animals and hunting. One of their most interesting books published in 1908, was The Sportsman's British Bird Book. This contained over 300 illustrations of birds which had been mounted in the Rowland Ward Studios specifically to be photographed for the book. Ward himself personally supervised the photography, and afterwards presented many of the specimens to the Natural History Museum. 1898 saw the appearance of The English Angler in Florida, his account, illustrated with his own photographs, of the trip he had made to America the previous year. He went principally to fish for the Giant Tarpon, specimens of which he had been asked to mount over the years but he also wanted to see for himself the places his father had visited some 60 years earlier in the company of Audubon. He took the opportunity to visit the New York Natural History Museum, which contained Audubon's collection of birds, many of which had been prepared by his father. His wife, to whom he often refers, but only ever as Mrs.Ward accompanied him.
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Melanistic cock Pheasant by Rowland Ward. Although over 70 years old this item is as relevant as a contempary item of interior design. Another item purchased that is not for sale

In 1892 he published Horn Measurements and Weights of the Great Game of the World which became in subsequent editions Records of Big Game. This listed horn and tusk measurements, weight and dimensions of the largest specimens recorded of each species, together with information on their distribution and characteristics, and was illustrated with photographs of mounted specimens and heads. A typical case, whether of birds or mammals, has glass all round, joined by means of a thin framework right angle moulding and taped with a kind of cartridge paper (it's usually green).
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Shelduck by Rowland Ward. The bird on the left is in eclipse plumage. This case is a flat fronted example, rather then all glass in construction. This is a later case which dates around 1950's

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Spotted Crake in wall dome which looks like the work of Henry Ward.

The groundwork is usually fairly low key, and the overall style simple but effective. Many cases have a distinct small circular label set into the groundwork, and sometimes there is an ordinary paper label beneath the base as well. Sometimes one of the glass panels is inscribed on the inside with what looks like engraving, but was actually applied by stencil. After the Second World War, the firm moved from Piccadilly to Mayfair. It later moved again, this time to North London and effectively ceased taxidermy shortly afterwards.

Cased birds by Rowland Ward

Rowland Ward being a commercial taxidermist studio undertook work for client who it is assumed specified the style of the cases that they required. Work was undertaken for both private individuals and also museums both nationally and internationally. The work undertaken for musuems tended to be housed in large dioramas, so the makers name was not apparent when initially viewed.

P1010004 (777K)
Barnacle Goose, shot on the Island of Jura in 1925, preserved by The Rowland Ward Company Ltd. This is a good exmaple of the 5 sided glass construction.
We have seen styles of cases ranging from box / flat fronted cases, to dome and hanging wall domes and also picture framed cases to hang on walls. However the most common style of case that we seem to encounter today is a five sided glass construction, supported internally with a wooden (hidden) framework. Bamboo was also used in the construction of these display cases also.These cases were then taped and either waxed of varnished to preserve the taping. Whilst these cases are indeed aesthetically pleasing to the eye they are very fragile. This is due in part to the "float" glass being only 2mm thick.
Also from a collecting point of view they are fragile to transport and also to keep in the home. Also and finally not forgetting that being five sided glass allows the viewer to admire the specimen from all angles it also, if incorrectly stored allows the specimen to fad beyond all recognition when subjected to direct sunlight. Cases that survive with limited fading are a delight to view however. The specimens were either hunted, collected for scientific purposes or merely for displays as part of Victorian and then Edwardian salons. Fire screens containing exotic birds from the colonies also proved popular. Examples of these can be found further down this page.

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Victorian Little Auk by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Peregrine Falcon by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Egyptian Goose by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian invoice relating to a Horses Hoof from Rowland Ward.

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Rowland Ward's signature on the reverse of the above bill.

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Victorian mixed case of English game birds by Rowland Ward.

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Cased pair of Snowy Owls by Henry Ward.

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Victorian Tigers head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Lion's head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Osprey by Henry Ward. This case was once in the ownership of the Walter Potter museum.

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Victorian Lion by Rowland Ward. These quarter mounts saved space at the time of creation and were popular for exhibits.

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Victorian Rhino's head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Thompson's Gazelle by Rowland Ward.

The art of taxidermy as practiced at Wards was very simple by any standards, yet typical of the era. To stuff an animal the skin would first be treated with salt, alum and arsenical soap, the bones wired and wrapped and put back inside the legs, and once hung upside down, the skin literally stuffed with straw until it could hold no more. To thin the body at any point, the skin would be sewn through with a long needle and the hide drawn in. Other shapes or contours would be achieved of this ‘upholstered’ specimen, simply by beating the detail into the mount with a plank of wood
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Victorian Bird of Paradise by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Trout in pictureframe case by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian full size Lion by Rowland Ward, previously owned by Eaton college.

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Victorian Fox Hound head by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Lapwings and chicks by Henry Ward.

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Victorian Lapwings and chicks by Henry Ward.

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Victorian Goshawk by Rowland Ward.

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When the appeal for taxidermy wained in the later part of Ward's business they branched out into other retail lines. Above is an example of this.

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Victorian Albino Hedgehog by George but who worked at Rowland Ward's for a considerable time.

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Victorian Bull Finches by Henry Ward, with nest and eggs.

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Victorian Firescrenn containing exotic birds by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian sculpture by Rowland Ward of a Chimpanzee called Sally.

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European Seabirds by Henry Ward, father of Rowland Ward. The birds are , Little Auks, Great Black Backed Gull, Common Gull and Herring Gull

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label from the above by Henry Ward, father of Rowland Ward. This case dates around the mid 1800's

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Great Auk by Rowland Ward.

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Arctic Skuas from the Hart Hall collection by Rowland Ward.

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Arctic Skuas from the Hart Hall collection by Rowland Ward.

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Arctic Skuas from the Hart Hall collection by Rowland Ward.

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Techniques for bird skining by Rowland Ward.

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Dodoo re-creation by Rowland Ward.

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Walrus head re-creation by Rowland Ward.

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Rhino head re-creation by Rowland Ward.

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Articulated skeleton of Dodoo which could be by Rowland Ward.

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Leopard by Rowland Ward. This dates around the mid 1800's

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Swainsons Lorikeet by Rowland Ward.

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Running Fox by Rowland Ward. This dates around the mid 1800's

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Pheasants by Henry Ward. This dates around the mid 1800's

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Bird Postcards from the British Musuem of Natural History by Rowland Ward.

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Bird Postcards from the British Musuem of Natural History by Rowland Ward.

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Bird Postcards from the British Musuem of Natural History by Rowland Ward.

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Bird Postcards from the British Musuem of Natural History by Rowland Ward.

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Bird Postcards from the British Musuem of Natural History by Rowland Ward.

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Elephants feet by Rowland Ward.

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An unsual item being a pair of Racing Pigeons by Rowland Ward. This case dates around the mid 1890's

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Kudu from the Powell-Cotton collection by Rowland Ward.

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An unsual item being a pair of Shelducks by Rowland Ward. This case dates around the mid 1890's

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Practical Collecting & Preserving Trophies dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Inscription in this book dated 1892, the chap appears to have been on Safari.

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Tribute to his father Henry Ward dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Firescreens from the above book dated 1891 by Rowland Ward. In our opinion these are grotesque in the extreame

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Hippo head dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Table lamps dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Table lamps dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Diagram for skining a Goose dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Practical Collecting & Preserving Trophies, desciption of how to combat insects dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Practical Collecting & Preserving Trophies, desciption of insects dated 1891 by Rowland Ward. Modern taxidermists and dealers take note.

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Practical Collecting & Preserving Trophies, the back cover, dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Rowland Ward, 1835-1912. Ward's Colonial Exhibition dated 1886 where this diorama was exhibited

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Rowland Ward, 1835-1912, typical trade label

John James Audubon

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John James Audubon, Bird Artist of America. (1785-1851)

To understand the Ward's influence on Victorian Taxidermy in many Countries you first have to understand where Henry Ward got his inspiration from. That inspiration came in the form of John James Audubon.

Audubon was born in the French colony of Santo Domingo (now Haiti), the son of Captain Jean Audubon, a French sailor and adventurer, and one of his mistresses, Jeanne Rabine, a French chambermaid / slave, who died six months later. Growing up in America, Audubon quickly fell in love with the eastern Pennsylvania countryside and its animals, often roaming the woods and fields incongruously wearing satin breeches and silk stockings. He became an enthusiastic and skilled hunter, both for sport and for his art. He collected all kinds of wildlife specimens, which he both preserved and sketched in attic rooms at Mill Grove.
Because he was familiar with the activities of his subjects and used freshly killed birds wired in his unique manner, Audubon was able to capture the shapes, textures, plumage, colors, and typical positions of his birds more accurately than other artists.


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Long Legged American Avocet by Audubon, taken from his Elephant Book.


At age 35, Audubon embarked on The Birds of America, producing 435 hand-colored engravings and publishing double elephant folios (1828-1838), followed by a smaller, octavo-sized, version. The first artist to portray birds consistently in life size, Audubon employed different formats for small songbirds than for larger hawks, owls, and shorebirds. He varied his approaches-- nearly a decade apart-- to portray the great American white pelican. His first version emphasized the bird's ungainly appearance on land with its short, thick legs, large feet, flattened body, and small head supporting a huge, broad bill. (The V-formation of pelicans soaring in the distance suggested their grace in flight.) Attracted to the species by its "gravity and stateliness," Audubon apparently concluded that this image was too undignified and never printed it. Instead, he executed a second version, a majestic profile, which accurately recorded the subtly different shades and textures of the pelican's plumage and anatomical structure. This image debuted in The Birds of America. He also invented a skeletal wiring device used to hold birds in realistic poses for Audubon to sketch them.

Audubon spent more than a decade in business, eventually traveling down the Ohio River to western Kentucky – then the frontier – and setting up a dry-goods store in Henderson. He continued to draw birds as a hobby, amassing an impressive portfolio. While in Kentucky, Lucy gave birth to two sons, Victor Gifford and John Woodhouse, as well as a daughter who died in infancy. Audubon was quite successful in business for a while, but hard times hit, and in 1819 he was briefly jailed for bankruptcy.
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American Smew or more commonly called then a "White Nun" by Audubon, taken from his Elephant Book.


After achieving much success with taxidermy birds, Audubon set out to draw the animals of America. He did manage to draw many of them, but was not able to complete the huge task. His last big trip was out west to follow the buffalo herds in the 1840's. In 1847 he suffered a stroke, and his health deteriorated Audubon spent his last years in senility and died at age 65. He is buried in the Trinity Cemetery at 155th Street and Broadway in New York City
The Audubon society is now an International Society devoted to Wildlife Conservation. Well worth a visit. www.audubon.org

Rowland Ward

It seemed that natural history and taxidermy ran in the veins of the Ward family. Both Henry and Frederick Ward were at various times of their early careers employed by naturalists of the likes of John Gould, William Swainson (refer to biopic later in the page) and John James Audobon to collect and skin birds for them. Not to be outshone by her brothers, Jane Ward followed the family trade and also became a taxidermist.
Henry Wards first employer was Thomas Mutlow Williams was a naturalist and based (according to his label) at 155 Oxford Street, opposite Bond Street, London. He employed Henry Ward, father of Rowland Ward as his 'Chief Artist in Taxidermy' and exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Henry Ward also went on to preserve birds for John James Audubon. The rest as we say is history.
Rowland Ward was a famous, innovative and world renowned taxidermist whose shop at 'The Jungle, Picadilly' at the end of the 19th Century became a social institution for sporting enthusiasts. One of Rowland Ward's first commissions was to sculpt small models of animals which were then cast in bronze. A model of a lion was created for the Duke of Connaught in 1911 and is now in the collections of the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. The frontispiece in the 7th edition of his own publication 'The Sportman's Handbook' shows him modelling a maquette for a bronze of a lion and tiger in combat. Compared to his rather crude bronze of the Connaught lion the spirited modelling of this sculpture superbly captures the character of the chimp and it has great presence.
Ward regularly went to study the animals at London Zoo, which is where in life Sally the chimpanzee lived. His expertise as a sculptor and artist helped to sharpen his skills as a taxidermist. He was the first to insist on accurate measurements. He asked hunters to take field notes about their quarry and he used innovative methods and materials to produce an amazingly life like appearance in his specimens that had never been achieved before.
Rowland Ward Ltd. Of Piccadilly became and remained for many years the largest and most famous taxidermy firm in the world. They specialized in, and were renowned for, their work on big game trophies, but their output covered all aspects of taxidermy. Rowland Ward was trained by his father Henry, himself a very well-known taxidermist in his day, to whom he dedicated his book on taxidermy, The Sportsman's Handbook.
In 1839, Jane Ward married Charles Tost, a Prussian cabinetmaker and bird stuffer. Together with 6 children, the family immigrated in 1856 to the British colony of New Holland and settled in Hobart, Tasmania where Jane received employment within the Hobart museum. Jane Tost was probably the first woman employed in a museum within Australia and one of only a handful anywhere in the world to be employed within a recognised male dominated field. Later, she was to move to Sydney on the mainland, where she took on a position as a taxidermist within the Australia Museum in 1864. In so doing, was granted equal wages to the male taxidermists working within the Australia Museum.
Equal pay was unheard of amongst the women and men of that era, but such a level of re-numeration speaks highly of her abilities as a taxidermist. Her husband Charles, also worked at the museum as a cabinet maker and taxidermist but following a dispute between himself and the curator of the Australia Museum, Gerard Krefft, she left the museum in 1869. A family disaster in 1872 saw Jane and her daughter Ada Rohu form a family craft and taxidermy business in 1878, the two women opening a premises of trade at number 60 William St, Sydney.
By 1857, Henry Ward, the nephew of Jane Tost had began his own taxidermy business back home in London. Henry fathered two sons, Edwin and Rowland and like the generation before them, these two Wards also took to the business of natural history and taxidermy. Edwin Ward went on to enjoying the patronage of the Royal Family from 1872, as taxidermist to the Royals, whilst his brother Rowland founded the largest and most influential taxidermy firm of the nineteenth century, Wards of London.


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Parrot by Rowland Ward. This was Captain Vivian Hewitt's personal pet that travelled with him. When travelling by train the parrot was awarded its own "First Class Seat". It now lives in a bathroom currently, where I suppose it gets a first class view?.

Born 1835 and died in 1912 leaving behind a global legacy of finely produced works of natural history. A prolific hunter and naturalist, he not only produced taxidermy, but many books on big game, china and cut glass that bore the name “Jungle”.

Historical background

Rowland, along with his brother, had been trained by his father Henry, who had at one time been employed by John Audubon, a famous American naturalist. After working for his father for some years, Rowland started his own taxidermy business c1872 in Harley Street. He later had premises at 158, 166 and 167 Piccadilly. He established the “The Jungle", Piccadilly London, where most of his patron purchased items for both public and private taxidermy collections. This shop closed its doors in 1977, when so much of this art form went out of fashion.
Whilst many of his original works survive the bulk of the work that has survived best was produced after his death, right up until the company ceased trading. Whilst technically, not the work of the man himself, the artistry cannot not be bettered. P.H.G. Powell-Cotton's mansion, Quex House, the only stately home in Thanet. Powell-Cotton's Museum is a purpose-built taxidermy museum, adjoining the Mansion, now extends to nine large galleries; here Powell-Cotton created huge dioramas showing 500 African and Asian animals, mostly mounted by Rowland Ward, in scenes re-creating their natural habitats. He assembled the world's finest taxidermy collection of African ethnography gathered on his 28 expeditions, and displayed it at Quex, together with superb weapons collections, cannon, local archaeological material and out-standing fine arts from many countries of the Orient


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Rowland Ward, 1835-1912

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Victorian Tiger Cub by Rowland Ward. Many thanks for the images Cat.

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Victorian Tiger Cub by Rowland Ward. Many thanks for the images Cat.

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Victorian Tiger Cub label by Rowland Ward. Many thanks for the images Cat.

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Victorian Tiger Cub by Rowland Ward. Many thanks for the images Cat.

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Victorian Tiger Cub by Rowland Ward. Many thanks for the images Cat.

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Victorian Merlins by Rowland Ward. The male has a Meadow Pippit in its talons.

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Victorian Merlins by Rowland Ward. The male has a Meadow Pippit in its talons.

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Victorian Merlins by Rowland Ward. The male has a Meadow Pippit in its talons.

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Victorian Merlins by Rowland Ward. The male has a Meadow Pippit in its talons.

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Victorian Merlins by Rowland Ward. The male has a Meadow Pippit in its talons.

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Victorian Merlins by Rowland Ward. The male has a Meadow Pippit in its talons.

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Publication by Rowland Ward.

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Tortoise snufbox by Rowland Ward. Yes we got the same email you did, but decided no need to self indulge

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New Zealand Kiwi by Rowland Ward.

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New Zealand Kiwi by Rowland Ward.

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Rowland Ward leather bound edition of Records of Big Game.

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Bengal Tiger's head by Rowland Ward.

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Practical Collecting & Preserving Trophies, "Tiger skining", dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Practical Collecting & Preserving Trophies, "Tiger skin", dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Practical Collecting & Preserving Trophies, "Tiger mount", dated 1891 by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Trout by Rowland Ward.

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Rowland Ward Peregrine Falcon.

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Henry Ward Gooseander.

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Henry Ward Gooseander.

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Lot 334 Great Auk by Rowland Ward. The text is self explanatory. The bird was sold in 1970

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Great Auk skeleton from the 1908 book by Richard Lydekker. This skeleton was prepared by Rowland Ward.

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European Badger by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Alpine Choughs by Rowland Ward. Not long to wait until they are for sale again.

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Victorian mixed cased of exotic birds by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Peregrine Falcon by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Montagu's Harrier, female by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Montagu's Harrier, female by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Montagu's Harrier, female by Rowland Ward in close up.


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Victorian Tiger by Rowland Ward.

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Trout by Rowland Ward.

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Richard Lydekker, associate of Rowland Ward.

RICHARD LYDEKKER (1849-1915)

English naturalist and geologist, was born in London July 25 1849. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took a first-class in the Natural Science tripos (1871). He joined the staff of the geological survey of India in 1874, remaining in this post till 1882. He became very widely known as a naturalist, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1894 Richard Lydekker was also influential in the science of biogeography. In 1895 he delineated the biogeographical boundary through Indonesia, known as Lydekker's Line, that separates Wallacea on the west from Australia-New Guinea on the east.
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Marble Cat by Richard Lydekker (1849-1915)


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Victorian Eland Head by Rowland Ward, shot by Colonel Patterson. For for information see Edwardian Taxidermy PAGE.

On my return to England in April. I sent the head to Rowland Ward's to be set up, and while there it was seen by Mr. R. Lydekker, F.R.S., of the British Museum, the well-known naturalist and specialist in big game, who wrote to tell me that it possessed great zoological interest, as showing the existence of a hitherto unknown race of eland. Mr. Lydekker also contributed the following notice describing the animal to The Field of September 29, 1906: "Considerable interest attaches to the head of an eland, killed by Colonel J.H. Patterson in Portuguese[1] East Africa, and set up by Mr. Rowland Ward, on account of certain peculiarities in colouring and markings, which indicate a transition from the ordinary South African animal in the direction of the giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus) of the Bahr-el-Ghazal district and West Africa. In the striped variety (Taurotragus oryx livingstonianus) of the ordinary South African eland, the whole middle line of the face of the adult bull is uniformly dark, or even blackish-brown, with a tuft of long bushy hair on the forehead, and no white stripe from the lower angle of the eye. On the other hand, in the Sudani form of the giant eland (T. derbianus gigas), as represented by a bull figured by Mr. Rothschild in Novitates Zoologicae for 1905, the upper part of the face has the hair rufous and shorter than in the ordinary eland, while from the lower angle of each eye a white stripe runs inwards and downwards, recalling the white chevron of the kudu, although the two stripes do not meet in the middle line.

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Black Grouse by Rowland Ward.


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Tragopan Pheasant by Henry Ward.

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Himalayan Monal Pheasant by Henry Ward in a pictureframe case.

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Labrador Pup by Rowland Ward.

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Practical Collecting & Preserving Trophies by Rowland Ward.

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European Green Woodpecker by Rowland Ward. Once owned by Andy Henry, now returned

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Close up of a European Green Woodpecker by Rowland Ward. Once owned by Andy Henry, now returned

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Trade label by Henry Ward.

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Peregrine with Partridge prey by Rowland Ward.

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Walrus by Rowland Ward.


Elephant Hunting as narrarted by Rowland Ward

The size to which tusks grow and are brought to market depends on race rather than on size of elephants. The latter run largest in equatorial Africa. Asiatic bull elephant tusks seldom exceed 50 lb in weight, though lengths of 9 ft. and up to 150 lb weight are not entirely unknown. Record lengths for African tusks are the one presented to George V., when prince of Wales, on his marriage (1893), measuring 8 ft. 72 in. and weighing 165 lb, and the pair of tusks which were brought to the Zanzibar market by natives in 1898, weighing together over 450 lb. One of the latter is now in the Natural History Museum at South Kensington; the other is in Messrs Rodgers & Co.'s collection at Sheffield. For length the longest known are those belonging to Messrs Rowland Ward, Piccadilly, which measure II ft. and 11 ft. 5 in. respectively, with a combined weight of 293 lb. Osteodentine, resulting from the effects of injuries from spearheads or bullets, is sometimes found in tusks. This formation, resembling stalactites, grows with the tusk, the bullets or iron remaining embedded without trace of their entry.

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Trade Label by Rowland Ward.

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Hooves by Rowland Ward.

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Exotic birds by Rowland Ward.

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Exotic birds by Rowland Ward.

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Victorian Firescreen by Rowland Ward.

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Indian Sloth Bears by Rowland Ward.

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Impala Heads by Rowland Ward.

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Trade label by Rowland Ward.

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Common Marmosets by Rowland Ward.

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Commemorative Hooves Marchioness died May 8th 1904 by Rowland Ward.

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Abberation Chipmonk by Rowland Ward, trade mark etched glass can been seen top left of the image.

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Trade mark by Rowland Ward. Here seen on the base of a Horse Hoof inkwell.

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Scarlett Ibis by Henry Ward.


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Victorian Rhino by Rowland Ward.
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Victorian Goosanders with Trout prey by Rowland Ward.

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Goosander with Trout prey, by Rowland Ward. Victorian case, and in detail of the case above. A paper legend internally reads to the front left of the case “Goosanders shot by J Batey at Low Lake, Unthank, (North of Lake District) March 30th 1915

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Budgeriegar, perhaps some-one's pet by Rowland Ward.

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Cattle Egret in Summer plumage by Rowland Ward.

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Ivorine disc, normally made of bone or ivory to denote the quality of the cases by Rowland Ward. These are nearly always found in the groundwork, but beware of fake cases.

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Pied Blackbird by Rowland Ward.
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Black Throated Divers by Rowland Ward.

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Red Legged Partridge by Rowland Ward.
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Rowland Ward Trade Label

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Female Sparrowhawk by Rowland Ward.

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Male Shovelor duck by Rowland Ward.

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European Jay,in a typical all glass case by Rowland Ward.

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Ivorine disc, normally made of bone or ivory to denote the quality of the cases by Rowland Ward. These are nearly always found in the groundwork, but beware of fake cases.

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European Magpie by Rowland Ward.

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European Red Fox by Rowland Ward.

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European Pheasant by Rowland Ward.

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White Pheasant by Rowland Ward.

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White Pheasant in detail by Rowland Ward.

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Female Tawny Owl by Rowland Ward.

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Weaver birds in detail by Rowland Ward. Andy Henry collection

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Weaver birds in detail by Rowland Ward. Andy Henry collection

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Weaver birds in detail by Rowland Ward. Andy Henry collection

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Paradise Flycatchers in detail by Rowland Ward. Andy Henry collection

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Label in detail by Rowland Ward.

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A Naturalist's Life Study by Rowland Ward.
Rowland Ward first began publishing his series of big game record books in 1892, which for many decades were considered the standard by which all African trophy records were ranked. All of the first ten such books issued through 1935 were 8vo with cloth bindings and zebra skin patterned endpapers. After WW II, in 1962, the publications continued, the most recent in 2003.
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Rowland Ward Trade Label

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Leopard by Rowland Ward.

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Female Peregrine Falcon by Rowland Ward, from the BCB collection
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Rowland Ward Trade Label

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Bull Finches and chicks by Henry Ward

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White Starling by Henry Ward

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Male and Female Goldfinches with four young in a wall hanging dome. We think this dome was created by Edwin Ward.


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Rowland Ward Trade Label


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Quex house diorama of Lion and Water Buffalo by Rowland Ward. This image is from the Powell Cotton museum near Margate.

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Male Hen Harrier by Rowland Ward

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Ring Necked Pheasants by Rowland Ward

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Cinnamon Pheasants by Rowland Ward

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Female Hen Harrier by Rowland Ward

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Fabulous Lapwings with four chicks by Edwin Ward, Rowland Wards brother. Victorian case.

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African Lion by Rowland Ward

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Indian Tiger by Rowland Ward

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Spoonbill by Rowland Ward

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So many of these mixed cases are being dismantled, the sum of the parts greater than the whole. This case is by Henry Ward and is no more.

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Exotic birds by Rowland Ward. Note the bamboo case which denoted the "Jungle Series" of cases


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Rowland Ward Ivorine plaque


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Arctic Terns by Rowland Ward

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Marsh Sandpipers by Rowland Ward

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Shelduck Gosling by Rowland Ward

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European Sparrowhawks by Rowland Ward

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Trade Label by Rowland Ward

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Pair of Shelducks by Rowland Ward

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Cuckoos by Rowland Ward

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Stoats in Winter ermin with Rabbit prey by Rowland Ward.

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Great Auk and egg by Rowland Ward

Adult specimen. Originally purchased from England by John E. Thayer of Lancaster, Massachusetts, and now is in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts Collection. Thayer describes the origin and purchase of the skin and accompanying eggs in The Auk, 1905. Through Mr. Rowland Ward of London I have had the good fortune to purchase a Great Auk (Plautus impennis) and three eggs. The following is an account of the bird and eggs. This specimen was bought for Viscount Hill's Hawkstone collection in 1838 from Gould, the Naturalist, and was first mentioned by the late Mr. R. Champley of Scarborough in the 'Annals and Magazines of Natural History,' 1864, Vol. XIV, page 235. The Hawkstone collection was sold to Mr. Beville Stanier, who has a collection of birds in the district. A Great Auk not consistently belonging to a local collection, he decided to sell it and it was purchased through Rowland Ward of London for the Thayer Museum. The following is taken from the Hawkstone catalogue,-"This Bird was re-set up by H. Shaw in 1867, and supposed to be the best specimen in existence." Thayer notes in a footnote that 'It would be better to say "one of the best" instead of "best" although it really is a magnificent specimen.
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Rowland Ward label

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Rowland Ward Ivorine plaque

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European Great Bustards by Rowland Ward

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Sepia trade label by Rowland Ward.

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Swallowtail Kites by Rowland Ward.

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Jackal mask by Rowland Ward.

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Pheasants by Rowland Ward.

Big Game Hunter and Friend of the Ward Family

Sir Samuel White Baker (1821-1893), traveller and sportsman, was born on 8 June 1921 in London. He was educated at a private school at Rottingdean, at the College School, Gloucester, and privately at Tottenham, before completing his studies at Frankfurt in 1841. Baker visited Ceylon in 1846 and 1848, and established an English colony at Newera Eliya. He superintended the building of a railway connecting the Danube with the Black Sea in 1859, and travelled in Asia Minor, 1860-1861. In December 1862 Baker embarked on a journey up the Nile. He reached Mbakovia in March 1864, and named the lake there Albert Nyanza. He was knighted in 1866, and that year published an account of his African expedition. He travelled with the Prince of Wales to Egypt and the Nile in 1869, and was appointed Governor-General of the Equatorial Nile basin for four years. Sir Samuel White Baker (1821-93) wrote a number of popular travel and geographical works. His father was a successful West Indies merchant and his brothers were in their own right also successful men.
In 1843 he married Henrietta Martin. In 1846, as quite a young man he founded an agricultural settlement in Ceylon. He introduced English migrants and imported prize breeds of cattle to the island. It appears that his younger brother Valentine (Pasha) accompanied him and studied in ceylon. He wrote and published two notable books during this period, The rifle and the hound in Ceylon 1853 and Eight years wandering in Ceylon 1855. This is also the year that Henrietta died.
After a journey to Constantinople and the Crimea in 1856, he supervised the construction of a railway connecting the Danube with the Black Sea. In 1861 he married his second wife, Florence von Sass, from Hungary. In 1861 he began a tour of Africa, like others of the time, keen to find the source of the Nile. In the first two years of this journey he taught himself Arabic. He met with the explorers Speke and Grant, and with their advice and assistance, went on to be the first man to see and name Lake Albert . This bought him great fame and honour. In 1866 he was knighted. At this time he published a number of books on his travels, the Nile and Lake Albert.
In 1869 on behalf of the Khedive Ismail of Egypt, he commanded an expedition to the equatorial regions of the Nile, aimed at supppressing the slave trade there and to open the way for commerce and agriculture. The story of this expedition is recorded in his work Ismailia (1874). He remained Governor General of this territory ( Equatoria)for four years. On all his African expeditions and explorations, he was accompanied by his second wife. He also chased big game and published Wild Beasts and their ways 1890. He died on 30 December 1893 at Sandford Orleigh, near Newton Abbot.

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White fronted Goose by Rowland Ward


William Swainson (1789-1855)


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William Swainson, naturalist.

The Englishman, William Swainson, was a talented, industrious, strong-willed naturalist and artist. He was self-trained but meticulous. In his later years he was highly critical of Audubon’s slipshod scientific descriptions.
However, Audubon and Swainson were friends in the 1830s and traveled to Paris together seeking supporters for their publications and drawings. Even before meeting Audubon Swainson was well-versed in American ornithology. He had traveled to Brazil and collected birds there a decade earlier. He also had access to Mexican birds collected by the Bullock family. Swainson himself first described a number of New World species based on Bullock’s specimens. Among California birds Swainson first described and named are: Acorn Woodpecker, Canyon Towhee, Violet-green Swallow, Bullock’s Oriole, Dipper, Hooded Oriole and Black Phoebe.

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Swainson's Warbler by John Audubon


Swainson illustrated a prodigious number of scientific and popular works on nature. His Bird drawings are as exciting and realistic as any of Audubon’s.
Professing disgust with England, Swainson moved with his family to New Zealand in 1840 and never returned to England, though he spent considerable time in Australia. His final home was near Wellington. Audubon commemorated Swainson by naming a warbler after him, a warbler given to Audubon by Rev. John Bachman. Later Swainson’s Thrush and Swainson’s Hawk were named for him as well.

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Rough Legged Buzzard by Rowland Ward


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Rough Legged Buzzards by Rowland Ward



P1010004 (777K)
Barnacle Goose, shot on the Island of Jura in 1925, preserved by The Rowland Ward Company Ltd

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