By: Eric Ross
You think decorating with the dead is a new thing? Pshaw! Mounted heads are so 200 years ago. Trophy hunting was popular in the 1800’s in Europe. As the sport increased, the more country manors were decorated with the heads, hooves, and horns of large game animals. Decorating country homes with mounts moved to North America and the trend has recently picked up even more.
No longer relegated to decorating the walls of basements, men’s offices, or the horridly coined “Man Cave,” hunting trophies now decorate the most elegant of rooms.
Animal activists, who argue against the morality of hunting for sport, can also benefit from this design tradition by decorating with cast resin pieces. The production of miniature trophies started in Germany has made its way into many American homes.
My own guest room has miniature resin trophies flanking the sides of an antique wall-mounted mirror. Any design element that draws in the feel of history provides a sense of story to a room.
My attempts at using faux antlers haven’t always gone so well, however. Once, my client returned the ones I’d hung in his office after his colleagues teased him relentlessly for displaying trophies that were not only reproductions, but also ones he hadn’t earned himself. Apparently, these miniatures challenged this man’s machismo.
We do live in the South, after all, and Middle Tennessee maintains a huge hunting culture.
Success has come, on the other hand, with placing mounted heads as the centerpiece of many a room. Hunters, who originally sneered at my being hired by their wives at all, became my biggest fans once they saw their prized pieces front-and-center, encouraging me to add my artistic flare to additional spaces in the house.