Great Auk ‘flies’ in Gloucestershire sale

A rare replica of a great auk by renowned taxidermy firm Rowland Ward from 1922 has sold for £25,000 in a recent Gloucestershire sale at Dominic Winters.

The flightless sea bird is mounted on sand and faux rocks in a glass case which is etched with the trademark of Rowland Ward Ltd.

Great Auk taxidermy replica

The item comes with the provenance of Captain Vivian Hewitt (1888-1965), who was an aviator, ornithologist and conservationist. Hewitt bought the item from Rowland Ward Ltd in 1922 and the lot came with a copy of the sale invoice. The invoice reads: To supplying 1 Great Auk egg, hand painted, and mounting with replica of Great Auk bird in an all glass case with natural groundwork and surroundings, top of vase arranged to lift and Egg removable £8 10s plus box and packing at a further 12s 6d.

Rowland Ward Ltd receipt for Great Auk

The specimen had a pre-sale estimate of £500-£800, with online bidders quickly driving the price higher before a French taxidermy collector finally secured the piece.

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