Maggie O’Neill Fine Art



Posted in: Design

Taxidermy is resurfacing as a decorative trend in the D.C. area.  Many of D.C.’s trendiest spots are mounting their walls with taxidermy, faux and real.  A recent article in  Washington City Paper  by Jessica Sidman discusses the recent popularity of taxidermy as a decorative feature in restaurant and residential decor.  Jessica Sidman says “the taxidermy comeback seems to be an extension of the rustic vibe that has become so popular in area restaurants with their ‘ reclaimed barn wood” and “farmhouse chic” decor.”

We have incorporated some elements of taxidermy into a few of our restaurants.  At Irish Whiskey in Dupont we placed a fox over the fireplace at the request of one of the owners. The fox was hunted and passed down to him from his grandfather.   Irish Whiskey’s design incorporates taxidermy, plaids, whiskey barrels and brass features.  We wanted to create the essence of a traditional Irish pub that incorporates the fundamentals of the Irish culture but with a modern twist.


I am partial to faux taxidermy that reinterprets the old style of taxidermy and uses synthetic materials instead of real fur or feathers.   I like to view it as “couture taxidermy,” it has a modern romance to it.  One of my favorite artists who creates gorgeous and creative faux taxidermy is Rachel Denny. I first came across the work of Rachel Denny while on Design Sponge.    Rachel Denny reinterprets the impact of human contact with the natural world in her sculptures.  She is well know for her “Domestic Trophies” but recently debuted her solo show “Works of Nature” in which she creates animals out of various man made materials.

{“War Horse” 2012, polyurethane foam, steal, pennies, tar, paint, 38″ x 20″ x 30″}

“War Horse” made out of flattened pennies is obviously one of my favorites.  The process took thousands of pennies, each one set on railroad tracks and flattened by a train.  The pennies were then hand drilled and applied with copper nails and marine-grade adhesive. The O’Neill Studios team made an entire wall and floor of pennies at Lincoln Restaurant so we can relate to the pain staking patience it takes to create this beautiful piece.

{“Love Bite” 2012, polyurethane foam, wood, paint, 20″ x 38″ x 125″}

To read more about Rachel Denny click here.

Due to taxidermy’s rise in popularity there are tons of exciting new ideas for how to represent taxidermy with synthetic materials.  I love bold patterns, bright colors and glitter so I thoroughly enjoy the below taxidermy options.

{Image taken from ManMade. This deer head was created with wrapping paper.}

 {Image taken from Banana Tree Studios. This particular deer head is decoupaged with 100% cotton fabric.}

 {Image from Saffron & Genevive}

 {Image from BeJanked: The Monroe Collection}

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