Sunday, April 22, 2012

Taxidermy & Gothic Decor, or Every Gothic Mansion Needs Some Dead Things

The decoration of one's Gothic estate cannot be considered truly complete until a few animal corpses have taken up residence, helping to create that lovely funereal atmosphere we're all so desperately trying to achieve. And while the insomniac  would love to own so many taxidermy pieces that it would be impossible to turn around without bumping into some cadaver or another, as usual, the teeny tiny budget always manages to cramp the expression of one's true style. The Gothic Mansion has a few crows, a magpie, a jackdaw, an antelope, a wolpertinger and some antique Black Forest antler mounts, chosen not so much for their aesthetic appeal but more so because they happened to be a Good Deal.

The antelope, whom we decorate at Xmas and
call by the name of  Rudolph ...

The Mansion's resident pair of crows are named Huginn (from the old Norse for Thought) and Muninn (Memory) even though technically they should be ravens. They generally live on top of the piano, in front of the statue of Odin (who is probably just some random Viking but we've elected to call him Odin - if one can take liberties with the naming of the antelope and crows, then one feels it's acceptable to take liberties with the Viking also).



The fascination with taxidermy started when, as a small child, the insomniac  saw her first piece at the Banff Trading Post. Not that one would care to own this particular piece, much preferring taxidermy with fur or feathers as opposed to those with scales and mummified faces. The insomniac  has enough sleep issues without having to lay awake worrying whether this horror is dragging itself up the stairs of the Gothic Mansion in the middle of the night ...

Fiji Merman, Banff Trading Post

Taxidermy of the vintage and antique variety, complete with cobwebs and a slight glaze over their glass eyes, is the preferred style in the Gothic Mansion. An aunt in Zurich has a mounted crow in her hallway that sports an absolutely magnificent coat of dust, which has greatly influenced the insomniac's  decision to never, ever clean her taxidermy in order to achieve that same Gothic ambiance.

Already well on its way to Gothic Gloominess.
Can one actually dust fake ivy and twigs?

Most of the taxidermy pieces in the Mansion have names, as the insomniac  would like them to feel like part of the family. And because one can't be too careful about such things, any taxidermy that is for sale is never, ever stored in the basement, to avoid any possibility of a malevolent uprising in the middle of the night when they all wake up from the dead, hell bent on wreaking revenge for their banishment (by now, it must be quite apparent that certain people have seen far too many horror movies).

Corvus monedula, which is a hard name to remember
or even pronounce when making introductions ...

It seems like the best taxidermy pieces are always discovered while on vacation, when the practicality of hauling a piece home in one's suitcase is, well, not practical at all. Many moderately priced pieces have been passed up for this very reason. Why, in the past year alone, a fox (Brooklyn), an owl (Bavaria) and a dove (Bruges) have been left behind with much regret at their respective flea markets. Last fall, a wolpertinger was discovered at a Munich  market and being of a reasonable size (and equally reasonable price) was purchased and transported home in an old biscuit tin bought especially to ensure its safe journey home in the bottom of the suitcase. The wolpertinger was originally acquired for resale in the Attic until one of the offspring announced she would be very  upset if the little fellow were sold, at which point it was given a permanent position on the hall table, cheerily waving a greeting with its wicked little talons to all who enter the Gothic Mansion. Because one doesn't like to upset the offspring for exactly the same reason one doesn't wish to tick off the taxidermy - to avoid malevolent uprisings.

Adorable, even with the murderous stare,
dagger-like claws and sinister looking fangs ...

The insomniac  has become so fond of the wolpertinger, she decided to commission one for the Attic from the same taxidermist who does the crows (and also the jackdaw, which just arrived this week). It is currently in the finishing stages and will be winging its way overseas very soon (just so we're clear, it will be winging its way in the belly of an airplane and not using its own wings). And after its completion, the insomniac  is quite sure the taxidermist will request she never, ever contact him again.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams ... and sincerely hopes the dead things in your  Gothic Mansion are all sleeping peacefully as well. Rest easy, my pretties. Mwahahaha.



  1. I don't like to upset the offspring either, and they, apparently, are not happy that I haven't been jumping out and scaring them enough lately! XD

    1. It's a fine line we have to walk as mothers, isn't it Beth? Not enough scaring - too much scaring - somebody should have written a damned manual for rearing offspring correctly! lol