ROY HALE

Roy Hale

Roy Hale mounting leopard

by Derek Frampton, 2020

What/Who inspired him to take up taxidermy?

A friend of his introduced him to Rowland Wards and Roy always said that he had a fascination with big cats from an early age.

When did he start and what was the first item he worked on?

Roy started his career shortly after the Second World War. The first items that he worked on were large mammals under the guidance of Alfred Taylor in about 1947.

What was his first break into the industry?

His first break into the industry was when he was taken on as an apprentice at Rowland Wards.

Work History / Career

  • He was in the Royal Navy and after the war, worked for a very short time for Solex Carburettors in London.
  • He then went to work at Rowland Wards and was trained in large mammal taxidermy and went on to become Head of Large Mammals for Rowland Ward.
  • He went on to work at the Natural History Museum in 1969 and was taken on as Chief Taxidermist. He was always interested in promoting taxidermy, even at a time when taxidermy was not in favour.
  • He appeared in the radio programme 'Down Your Way', as well as having television appearances on 'What's my Line?' and 'Blue Peter'.

Chi Chi, the panda, by Roy Hale

Chi Chi, the panda,
by Roy Hale

Notable Projects

  • He is most noted for his 'Chi Chi' the panda, who died in 1972 and drew large crowds when it was exhibited at the Natural History Museum.
  • 'Lion', a BBC film in 1981 which involved mounting a lion.
  • A very well received slide show about leopards using the traditional bind-up technique.  Mike Gadd considers this to be as good today as it was then; it allows you to quickly create a species in any pose without the expense of sculpting and casting a rigid polyurethane foam manakin.

Who/What inspired him the most?

Roy was always inspired by Mother Nature and in later years, he was inspired by Ian Hutchison to learn how to do bird taxidermy, as prior to that, his focus had always been on large mammals.

Did he help or teach any successful students?

Roy taught many people over the course of his career, including Ian Hutchison, Philip Howard, Duncan Ferguson, Derek Frampton, and many others, including numerous overseas museum staff.

Guild Qualifications

Roy was awarded 'Life Membership' of the Guild.

Guild Committee Work

Roy was a founder member of the Guild and spent many years on the committee as well as being Chairman.

Lectures

Over the years Roy delivered numerous lectures at the Guild, and at many other institutions.

Judging

Roy was frequently part of the judging panel at Guild events and competitions.

Roy last visited a Guild conference in 2002, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Sadly he passed away in 2009. He is still sorely missed and will always be remembered as 'Uncle Roy', a valuable and pioneering member of the Guild.

Tribute by Mike Gadd

Roy will always be remembered as being grounded in the old-school techniques of bind-up.  When I first came to the Guild, I remembered one of his lectures talking about exploding measurements from the animal skull.  This was hugely inspirational to me and I have used these techniques in my taxidermy and sculpting over the years.  I hope new members will take on board the amazing flexibility of a bind-up and not disregard it.

It was great to have a laugh and a joke when Roy came back to the 2002 conference.