A Pair of 20thC Taxidermy Magpies Mounted on a Pair of 18thC Neo-Classical Columns

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Origin: English
Period: George III & Late 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1990 (the specimens) & c.1770 (the posts)
The Columns:
Height: 22 inches
Bases: 7.75 x 7.25 inches
With Specimens: 28.5 & 26 inches high respectively

The pair of contemporary preserved Eurasian magpie (Pica, pica) specimens perched opposing restfully, rod-mounted on a pair of eighteenth century Neo-Classical Stop-fluted Columns each with a crested scroll capital and a frieze to the base carved with a putto and foliage, on a later stepped square plinth.

I am a wondrous creature, I vary my voice,
sometimes I bark like a dog,
sometimes I bleat like a goat,
sometimes I bellow like a goose,
sometimes I yell like a hawk,
sometimes I echo the ashy eagle,
the noise of the war-bird,
sometimes the voice of the kite I convey from my mouth,
sometimes the gull’s song, where I sit gladly.

“There is a certain kind of magpie that can learn words; they become fond of some words, and not only repeat them but can be seen to ponder them. To learn a word they must hear it said often, and if a word is too difficult for them to learn they may die. When they forget a word they cheer up greatly when they hear it spoken.”
Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 10, 50)

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