Taxidermy in the UK

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John Bisop Murray

"Stuffers of a bygone era"

"Bamp" is my Grandfather on my mothers side and is James Herbert Warwick Roberts born 1876 and died 1954 He spent all his life in Deanshanger, now part of Milton Keynes. He started Taxidermy when about 12 years old and was taught by his uncle Warwick Albert Compton. His prize winning exhibit in a London Exhibition in I think 1890 was quite large and ambitious for a 14 year old It was if I remember correctly about 3.5feet high by 2.5 feet wide and 18 ins deep.

"Bamp" James Herbert Warwick Roberts, Taxidermist 1876-1954.

James Herbert Warwick Roberts, Taxidermist 1876-1954. Trade label

The centrepiece was a grey Heron flanked by a Lapwing and a grey Partridge. It had two sets of branches on either side on which were mounted several song birds particularly Finches As I attempted to tell you earlier this case was destined to come to me but several years ago it was invaded by either Moth or Dermestes so I suggested it was consigned to a bonfire which was duly carried out.
My broher has a single Kingfisher in a case and one of my uncles has a family of Red Squirrels. and these along with my Bucks head are all the samples of his work which I know of. I will send some more photos of my other birds of prey as soon as I can take them I trust you got all my personal details but if not My name is John Bishop Murray and I was born in Milngavie near Glasgow in 1937. After leaving school at 16 I trained as a forester but gave that up and started work as a Taxidermist in Kelvingrove Museum in 1959.

John Bisop Murray. He is the one on the left by the way!!!.

I then in 1961 took up the post at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham taking the place of Len Wild who was more of a brilliant display technician. His case work is beyond belief for accuracy and detail but he did not actually do much taxidermy. I then returned to Scotland in the RSM in 1964 and worked there under William Stirling . I have just remembered that he at first worked there with another of Kirk's Taxidermists, David Wotherspoon John Murray's connection with Kirks of Glasgow With Regard to the firm of Charles Kirk all I can tell you is that he employed William McLintock as one of his large Mammal taxidermists many of whose work are in the Kelvingrove Museum. where he lately worked until I replaced him on his retirement. Kirk also employed Arthur Becket who in my opinion was the best bird taxidermist in Victorian times. Several examples of his work are in Kelvingrove and also in the RSM. There was also a George Stout who came from Fair Isle and was I believe the last Apprentice. . I think that fills in all the details I can remember about Kirk's and my own family connections with Taxidermy.

Peregrine by John Bisop Murray.

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