A Glorious Rare Pair of Large Mature Mid 20thC Taxidermy Swans

Origin: English
Period: Mid-Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1940-60
Heights: 45” each
Widths: 19” & 21”
Depths: 26” & 34” (all approximately and at extremities)

The rare pair of large opposing mature English Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) each mounted on a naturalistic setting stump mount surviving from the second quarter of twentieth century England in good overall condition.

The specimens are presented in very good order considering the relative fragility and age and that these examples are so often found with many feathers missing with a tatty appearance. Here, we see only very minor feather loss to the plumage, some small loss to one of the webbed feet to one example, and a smattering of yellowing to the coats in small areas. One of the specimens has a British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) ring; which is a silver-coloured metal ring fitted around its ankle with the number ‘Z96362’ and the words ‘INFORM BRITISH MUSEUM NAT HIST LONDON, SW7′. This bird had been tagged to track its movements in its life.

The Wild Swans at Coole
By William Butler Yeats

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter, wheeling, in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?