An eccentric shop and a taxidermist with a tale to tell. Hardly ever attended and rarely open to the public without prior appointment. The sign on the door says "No Photo's" and "No Mobiles". To add to the mystery this showroom's windows are covered with fairly small-holed security mesh, hence the picture below.
It's a conucopia of stuffed animals; a fox, a rabbit, two pirhana's, a lion, a hippo, some monkeys, an ostrich, a few deer, a sheep, a squirell and even the the odd stuffed remains of an Islington residents favourite pet.
It's a little known fact that Damien Hirst sourced his world famous skull from this shop. The most expensive piece of art by a living artist. This iconic piece titled "For the love of God" was reportedly inspired by Hirst's mum asking "For the love of God what are you going to do next".
Completed in 2007, the sculpture is a platinum cast of the skull from this shop. It was encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds including a pear shaped pink diamond encrusted in the forehead. It is rumoured to have cost somewhere between £8-15 million to produce and caused the price of diamonds to rise on the world market as Hirst was buying so many in a concentrated period.
It became notorious when it was reportedly sold for £50 million at the height of the noughties boom, just before the financial world went into meltdown. That sale has never been corroborated, Hirst reportedly saying it was a cash sale and left no paper trail.
There's an interview with Damien Hirst, shortly after it's completion here.
More background, history, reviews and artistic responses can be found in a Wikipedia entry here.