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Van Ingen & Van Ingen, simply Van Ingen, or Van Ingen of Mysore (1900–1999) were Indian taxidermists located in Mysore, South India, best known for their tiger and leopard taxidermy trophy mounts. A History of Taxidermy. Art, science and bad taste (Morris, 2006) states that Van Ingen factory processed more than 43,000 tiger and leopard trophies in less than 90 years of operation. Van Ingen & Van Ingen taxidermy today are still found throughout the world in the form of head mounts, full mounts, flat animal rugs, and rug mounts with heads attached.
The Van Ingen & Van Ingen firm was established by Eugene Van Ingen in the 1890s. His sons later ran the business until it closed in 1999.
Van Ingen & Van Ingen served the highest in international nobility as well as the Maharajas of India, preserving their "shikar" hunting trophies in the most lifelike poses and in the utmost beauty, with attention to detail like no other in their time of operation.
Van Ingen & Van Ingen's work was synonymous with quality and fine workmanship, constructing moulds, mannikins, glass eyes, tongues, teeth and even whiskers for jobs of all different sizes of big cat skins and hunting trophies that customers would bring to them. The "snarling" open mouth expression of finished big cat mounts was one of the Van Ingen's trademark qualities, a feature rigorously studied and made possible only by special head moulds which had specific built grooves on the nose area.
Glass eyes were imported from Germany, hand painted individually by a factory workman each pair painted specifically for each individual taxidermy mount. Van Ingen constructed mannikins and moulds of all sizes meaning they could produce mounts of consistent quality for a variety of poses from head mounts to full mount life size pieces.
In its heyday, Van Ingen & Van Ingen was one of the biggest taxidermy businesses in the world. Factory records reveal that Van Ingen & Van Ingen would process over 400 Tigers per year from the 1930s till the late 1960s limited to not only tigers and leopards, but also bears, lions, other species of cat, ungulates and even African game. Film stars, viceroys and senior military men were numbered among their customers, but at least a third of the taxidermy was done for the Indian nobility. The firm employed over 150 workers time to support the high workload, with jobs from cleaning, skinning, salting, pickling, mounting, carpentry, finishing, decorating and offloading. Work began to decline in the late 1960s, following the banning of hunting in India.
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