A British woman had no idea her husband had stowed away so much taxidermy.
We’ve all heard of hunters who have a significant other who simply isn’t a fan of taxidermy, but one woman in England found out her husband’s love for stuffed and preserved game animals was a little more extensive than she originally thought. This realization came after discovering more than a dozen mounts hidden away in an attic in Worcestershire.
The New York Post reports Julie Gittoes had no idea her late husband Kevin, who died of cancer last August, had snuck a dozen pieces of taxidermy into the attic until a workman found them while doing some maintenance in the attic.
“I was never allowed into the loft but, after I lost Kevin, I needed some work done in the attic,” Gittoes told itv News. “I’m amazed Kevin managed to squirrel them away without me knowing.”
The New York Post further reports that this discovery led to an investigation of the garage, which yielded another 150 pieces of hidden taxidermy.
It seems Gittoes’ husband was not a hunter; he simply liked the art of taxidermy. Among the discovered mounts, the widow found rabbits, badgers, foxes, hartebeest, zebra, fish, birds, and a lion head that had been stowed in secret.
She did know her late husband had an interest in taxidermy, she just didn’t know the extent of it. She told interviewers Kevin collected taxidermy for over 30 years. Some were on display in a hallway in the home, but the pieces in the attic were all new to her. She decided to keep a badger and some birds, while the rest went up for bid at an auction house called Hanson’s in Derbyshire, where they brought in about £11,000 (approximately $14,712).
“He was very proud of his collection. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve decided to sell it at auction,” Gittoes told reporters. “He always loved country pursuits. When our daughter, Esther, was small and had sleepovers, some of her friends were terrified when they walked into the hall.”
Many of Kevin’s pieces were likely acquired after he retired, and some in the collection had a little more historic significance than your typical mounts. In fact, some were dated back to Edwardian and Victorian times, with a few originating from the 1860s.
The funds generated from the auction is going to a good cause; the New York Post reports the money is going to be donated to a local cancer organization in England.
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