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Birds of Paradise, taxidermy, late 19th century (Accession No. 10154)
General13 September 2023

Objects in Spotlight – Birds of Paradise Taxidermy

Birds of Paradise, taxidermy, late 19th century (Accession No. 10154)

Lady Baillie love of birds featured strongly at Leeds Castle, not only in the grounds but also in the interiors of the Castle itself.  Almost every room in the Castle contains images or representations of birds in one form or another.  This piece is unusual, however, as it is the only known taxidermy in Lady Baillie’s collection and it was in fact gifted to her.  Who by and when are both at present a mystery.

Birds of Paradise is the name given to a number of different species of exotic birds found in New Guinea and the surrounding islands.  They are characterised by bright plumage and some have distinctive head plumes or ornamental features such as breast shields. 

The Birds of Paradise from Lady Baillie’s collection have been on display in different locations within the Castle and have recently been moved to the Baillie Room as part of a new display focusing on Lady Baillie’s passion for birds.  As acknowledged by her land agent, John Money, ‘“The Birds” became such an integral part of Lady Baillie’s life, and in fact a part of the whole of life at Leeds.’

Each week we will be highlighting our ‘Objects in Spotlight’ within the Castle as part of the Festival of Craft & Design.