Nash fish Submitted photo


The trophy fish mounted and hanging over the fireplace or the talking fish in the theme restaurant are both things most of us have seen. The mezzo fish is neither. It is a technique that portrays the prize fish in a natural setting of woodland and water. This is the artistry of J. Waldo Nash.

Born in Sweden in July of 1862, John Waldo Nash would become known as Nash of Maine, Leading Taxidermist of America. He attended Fryeburg Academy and, for a while after, taught school. Nash was often referred to as Captain Nash since he was a member of Company D of the 2nd Maine Regiment located at Norway and served as Captain for sixteen years. During the Spanish-American War his company was stationed in Georgia. In addition to his military involvement and taxidermy his resume also includes a brief period as Life Insurance Agent.

Somewhere along the way, J. Waldo Nash realized an artistic talent, which found its expression in the field of taxidermy. For eight years he studied and listed birds in the White Mountains under a special government permit. He became well known for his fine collection of preserved birds, numbering 300 specimens. While his professional business brochure offers a wide variety of taxidermy options, his foremost accomplishment was the “Trout Mezzo” which he patented in the U.S. and Canada.

If you check the definition of the word mezzo you will find it described as “the projection of figures…from a background.” His business pamphlet explains further: “The ‘Trout Mezzo’ is half of a fish mounted on an oval or elliptical convex panel of beautiful native wood which, when properly hung, gives the impression of the whole fish. At the same time, it gives the impression of a beautiful painting.

Nash’s wife and partner, Alice, was the artist who rendered the natural scenes on the elliptical panels that form the backdrop for the fish. As Nash became well known across the United States and Canada for his mezzo technique, his wife took on the responsibility of avian taxidermy in the business. After the death of J.W. Nash in 1919, Alice continued to operate the business located on Temple Street, Norway where the present Masonic Hall is located.

The Norway Museum and Historical Society is fortunate to have in its collection several examples of Mezzo created by J.W. Nash. These mounted trophies were donated to the museum and have recently been restored by Gene Bahr Wildlife Creations of Sebago, Maine. These examples of an art form developed here in Norway are on display thanks to the generous contributions of members of the society, the public and participants in the Chowder Cook-Off fund-raiser in 2019.

Although we are closed to the public at this time, we look forward to welcoming you when we can reopen. To view some of our past programs visit us at

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