19 August 2016
The Museum's Art
Known as "Edwards' Dodo", this painting was given to the British Museum in 1759 and now rests in the collections of the Natural History Museum in London. The painting was created by the Dutch artist Roelant Savery in the 1620's. The painting made it's way from the collections of Sir Hans Sloane to the eminent ornithologist and so-called "Father of British Ornithology" George Edwards. Edwards traveled Europe drawing and engraving birds while at the same time publishing a number of books and "natural" essays concerning the birds of Europe. Edwards not only enjoyed creating art, but collected works like this wonderfully life-like dodo. Important to note in this painting is that Savery ignored some of the contemporary accounts and painted what he saw as the best representation of the dodo. He painted at least nine other dodos, but the Edwards' Dodo became his best known work and set the standard for all subsequent dodo artwork. This answers a question about where that body shape originated that was posted yesterday. Unfortunately four of the birds in this painting are thought to represent now extinct taxa: Lesser Antillean Macaw (left) and Martinique Macaw (upper right) and the Red Rail (bottom right).