We were at a drinks party at the Grant Museum of Zoology this week for the opening of 'Strange creatures: The Art of Unknown Animals' and came across two special depictions of kangaroos....
SYDNEY PARKINSON 1770
Unfinished pencil outline of Kangaroo,Macropus (Plate4)
With thanks to The Trustees of the Natural Hisrtory Museum , London and the Grant Museum of Zoology.
The artist was employed by Joseph Banks to draw specimens on Capt James Cook's Endeavour during the ship's voyage as flora and fauna were collected. This is the first ever European rapresentation of a kangaroo, which makes it worthy of this art and science blog. Parkinson died on the ship's return voyage and his kangaroo drawing was never published leaving Stubbs to become the British artist to portray kangaroos for Europe to learn about.
When Stubbs painted the picture below , he did it by depicting the inflated skin of a kangaroo collected on the same voyage Parkinson had been on. He had actually never seen the animal himself.
KONGOURO FROM NEW HOLLAND
G STUBBS 1772
With thanks to the National Maritime Musum, Greenwich and to the Grant Museum of Zoology. Mark the curator spoke passionately about his job looking after the collection, what a special tresure trove in the heart of London.
Just a word about the Grant Museum of Zoology founded in 1828 , I urge you all to visit it as it is the only remaining zoological museum in London and houses a collection of 67,000 specimens, many extinct or endangered.