Spicer’s Stalking Records – Westley Richards & Co.Ltd

An interesting find this last week was this ‘Spicer’s Stalking Records’ of 1914, detailing Red Stag trophies from the 1913 season. The reason we say interesting is that a close link existed between Westley Richards and the famed taxidermist Peter Spicer of Leamington Spa, which until now we have never seen published in anything other than Westley Richards ‘Centenary’ catalogue of 1912.

Peter Spicer was born in 1839 and died in 1935, aged 96. He was one of the pre-eminent taxidermists of the day and was renowned for the quality of his cased birds, fish and Red Stag mounts. His studio operated primarily from Leamington Spa with an offices based in Inverness, Scotland, that handled many of the trophies hunted in the north.

Peter Spicer 1839-1935

The opening page of ‘Spicer’s Stalking Records’ giving the two retail address’s used by Westley Richards at the time.

Individually ‘tipped in’ photos of some of the better stags shot during the 1913 season.

‘Spicer’s Stalking Records’ is a very nice publication that detailed many of the great deer forests, along with the best trophy Red Stags shot on those estates. Many of the better stags have tipped in images along with a short story about the trophy. The would unquestionably have been fierce competition amongst estates to produce the best trophies!

Westley Richards clearly had strong links with Peter Spicer and although no records exist today of how this relationship came about, it is probably safe to assume that it was of mutual benefit between the two great companies. If clients shot game with Westley Richards guns and rifles then clearly they needed a good taxidermist to prepare the varying trophies. It is worth remembering that Westley Richards also offered fishing rods, reels and accessories at the time and so all forms of taxidermy were a requirement for the sporting elite of the day.

Interestingly, Spicer’s Inverness office offered for sale Westley Richards guns and rifles, clearly acting as an agent in the north for the company, something we were until now unaware of.

The First World War would soon consume everyones attention and it would be somewhat sobering if time permitted, to see how many of the names listed in this 1914 Stalking Records actually survived the war.

An advert for Westley Richards Deer Stalking rifles.

5 thoughts on “Spicer’s Stalking Records – Westley Richards & Co.Ltd

  1. What is so fascinating to me about this article is that with all of the vast knowledge of the history of Westley Richards, you were 1. unaware that Mr. Spicer’s book of 1914 ever existed until just recently. And 2. even more interesting is that Mr. Spicer was a Westley Richards dealer of some degree in his Inverness, Scotland office, and the Westley Richards of today was completely unaware.
    Trigger, this is such a great article because it provides all of us that follow you and the Explora with new information about the finest gun maker in the world!
    Thank You!
    David Hodo
    Pensacola, Florida

  2. Hi Trigger

    What a great addition of knowledge to the past history of ‘Westley Richards’, I think most of us aren’t aware of all our own historical background, records lost, nothing passed on from generation to generation.
    When we do find lost evidence of our past it’s such an enlightening boost that spurs us on to find more!

    It’s great to see ephemera and accessories that add that extra insight into ‘Westley Richards’ of yesteryear!

    Best regards. Peter

  3. That is a gem of a find, well done! It is interesting to see the link between the companies. Personally, I was not aware that WR were that involved with stalking rifles, seeing you more in the big game market. I need to get my copy of Simon’s book down and have a good browse to see what I’ve missed.

  4. Very interesting find, I find old books a very valuable source of information and that one looks particularly good. It is amazing that no one seemed aware of the books presence, where did you find it.

    Matt Schmidt.

  5. Hi Trigger

    What I do find interesting in the last page shown, (on reading it again), is the advertised use of a double rifle for Stalking, was this quite common in the day? (perhaps used more for woodland stalking rather than the hill), in your experience are they used for stalking nowadays?
    Also in the advertisement “Westley Richards” new wind gauge peep sight, and also Telescope sights (Actorus ?) both fitted and adjusted, I have never seen any of these particular sights in the flesh, maybe one day I will come across some examples and purchase them!

    Best regards. Peter.

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