Taxidermist Ellen Sutcliffe, 19, from West Suffolk College taking dead animal donations

19-year-old taxidermist Ellen Sutcliffe. Ellen has taken up the subject as part of her final art pro

19-year-old taxidermist Ellen Sutcliffe. Ellen has taken up the subject as part of her final art project. - Credit: Gregg Brown

The skinning and stuffing of deceased animals is not every teenager’s idea of fun, but for one 19-year-old art student it could be her future career.

Ellen Sutcliffe, from the west Suffolk village of Felsham took up taxidermy, the art of preserving and mounting animals, after buying a how to guide on Ebay.

The West Suffolk College student started less than a year ago, but has been banned from practicing at the college and at home.

“My mum and dad won’t let me do in the house, and the college won’t let me for health and safety reasons,” she said. “I have to do it at my Nan’s, she is only one who will let me.”

The former Thurston Community College pupil revealed that her Grandmother had a lot to with inspiring her love of art.

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She said: “I have always loved animals, especially horses. I have been drawing animals since a very young age. My Nan always helped me and encouraged me.”

All of the projects are ethically sourced, with the animals usually found roadkill or donated.

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“I would never kill an animal to work on,” she said. “It is about preserving them for the future. There are so many animals going extinct because of us, taxidermy can show people what they were like. I don’t like it because it is morbid.”

Ellen admitted that her friends thought it strange, but says they are now getting to understand it.

She said the idea of taxidermy had intrigued her for a while, finally buying a book called Mouse: A Taxidermy Workshop Manual.

After initial “wonky” efforts, Ellen joined a course with fellow young-and-female taxidermist Elle Kaye in Braintree.

She said: “I was the youngest there by far. I can’t think there are many people my age doing it.”

If you would like to commission Ellen or donate an animal, please email

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