Monday Musings

Hello Monday our old furfriend. Why did you have to come back again?!

Well this Monday whee want to tell you about some furry interesting things involving us piggies and the art world!

With our pretty furs and general cuteness, is it any wonder guinea pigs have been the muses of artists for many years.

Have you ever seen the first ever recorded painting of a guinea pig? How old do you think it is? 50 years old? 100 years old? Try 16th Century, around 433 years ago!

Prized pet: The painting is called 'Three Unknown Elizabethan children' and may contain the first portrait of a guinea pig

From Daily Mail Website

“The portrait, believed to have been painted around 1580 by an unknown artist, shows three young children holding the animal which had recently been introduced into Europe from South America by Spanish merchants.”

The little known painting of three Elizabethan children is believed to be the first portrait of a guinea pig as a pet! The little hoomans are disappointed that theirs are 433 years too late! It has been uncovered by the National Portrait Gallery in London, during the making of its exhibition Elizabeth I and Her People.

No one knows who the children are, but whee are more concerned about who this clear VIP (Very Impawtent Piggy) is! With it’s beige, brown and white fur and regal bearing whee wonder, could it be the first piggy ever brought to England as a gift for Elizabeth I as a child?!

After she received one, they became popular exotic pets with children here and would be brought back as gifts when travelling. They were believed to be bred as curiosity pets, exotics if you will. Whee are still classed as exotic pets today when whee want to visit the vet so times haven’t changed all that much!

However that is not the only piggy portrait whee know of. The below Flemish painting, dated 1615 shows a pair of domesticated guinea pigs. (look just in front of the horse!) The painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder and is part of the Stapleton Collection/Corbis.

A detail from a 1615 Flemish painting shows a pair of domesticated guinea pigs.

Found on the National Geographic Website

A slightly later portrait of a girl with a guinea pig from 1677 by Caspar Netscher  is part of the Royal Collection.

Though science can estimate times and historians can guess at dates, no one knows for sure the dates whee arrived on these shores.

One thing is for sure though; when this exhibition is open (10 October 2013 – 5 January 2014) Mummy will head over there to have a look for herself!

Happy Monday



ps. Whee don’t know if you’ve heard but our furfriend Speedy the Bunny has not been too well, (He had a poorly eye and had to have an operation! Poor guy) however he is getting better. Please pop over and let him know you hope he is all better soon. However Speedy’s girlbun Maddy isn’t furry well and she needs healing wheeks and whiffles. Please send her lots of blogoville healing love, whee have our paws crossed for both of them.


About hutchagoodlife

Tales and adventures from the hutches of British blogging guinea pigs!

Posted on August 26, 2013, in Piggy Blogs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. In addition to everything else I know and do, I’m a rregular museum rat — my grandmother was an art teacher, and I spend a lot of my free time at museums.

    That Brueghel painting is owned by the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. I see it very often when I visit there, as it is not far from where I live:

    There is another Noah’s Ark painting with guinea pigs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art which I also see very often (The Getty has “before” the flood, LACMA has “after”):

    I saw the painting of the Elizabethian guinea pig last week when the articles first hit Facebook. You know how Nacho speculated about the space guinea? The pig in that painting looks a lot like Benwick. The Tardis may have been involved somehow.

    • Hehehe. Wow you know so much! Whee know this sort of thing fascinates Mummy.

      Whee are excited she might get to see this pigture


      • They sell posters and postcards of the Brueghels one in the gift shop. A friend of mine has a framed poster of it in her super fancy office even. The Getty is an evil empire with a bottomless pit of money, and jacks up prices of art in bidding wars so other places won’t get it. There is a lot if bad blood about the Getty, but they do have sone very beautiful art, and two beautiful museums. Not sure if they have an online gift shop, but they have quite a collection, especially photography (J. Paul Getty was a newspaper guy, so they OWN the vast collection of photographs that is “Getty Images”). They are also huge on conservation and have a research institute. They have amazing special exhibitions, and their site is worth exploring.

  2. Piggies,
    I thought of you this weekend, a friend is traveling around Peru this month and sent me a picture of a traditional meal “cuy” which basically translates to guinea pig. I went there a couple of years ago but didn’t dare to try your relatives, too cute to eat them.
    You look better on painting than on plates, just saying.
    Have a nice week.

  3. Whee think the piggy in that portrait looks a bit like Poppy. Whee hope the Speedy and Maddy get well soon.
    Piggy kisses,
    Poppy and Clover

    • If Poppy had brown patches that could be her sister! . . . Poppet. Yes, the painted piggy shall now be known as Poppet!

      BTW – Give your hoomans kissy whiffles and thank yous from our hoomans


  4. Why piggies I believe you are in fact Whee-gal! and very much part royal 🙂 Sending huggies to you all and poor unwell furriends 😦 Loves Fozziemum xx

  5. Wow! Those are some pretty cool paintings. I never heard of them before.

  6. I feel like I should bow to you now boys! Pawesome! =^.^=

  7. We thought of you yesterday as our favorite pet photographer did a shoot with trick guinea pigs!

  8. I’ll definitely be looking out for piggies in any paintings I see in the future

  9. The paintings may have been 16th century but I think the pigs were photoshopped into the pigture in the 18th century.

  10. Wow that was an interesting post! I hope your mom will write a post about the exhibition, that would be cool.

  11. We always knew you piggies were important pets now we know that you come by royal appointment too!Thanks for the get well card for Maddy and me,I shall send it on to My girl Maddy too!xx Speedy

  12. Wow…..who knew? Guinea pigs have been on canvas for a VERY long time and obviously people WAY back then knew what lovely little beings you are – WE all know that too but isn’t it cool to see that piggies have been cherished as pets for a very long time! We knew about Speedy’s eye operation but not about his girlfriend…thanks for telling us!

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

  13. I think the exhibit should be called “Elizabeth I and Her Piggies”!

  14. Oh this is cool! I guess piggies are very important little creatures!

  15. Owww paintings of piggies how cuuute!! Love how they got the little toes on there on the first one, such detail for being way back.. o_o what a fun idea for an exhibition heehee. It’s been a while since I went to anything like an exhibition or a theater, I want to go sniff the creative and dusty smell again!

  16. Wow..thove are some awesome paintings! Very super informative, I enjoyed reading it so much. Just stopped by to say thank you so much for Maddy’s get well card..she’s not home yet, but I will print it up for her to look at! Love to you all!


  17. Those were some lucky kids to have their very own piggies way back then and to painted by such an accomplished artist. I really enjoyed all the beautiful works of art at the London National Museum when we were there. Maybe you’re from royalty?

  18. That is very interesting. We had no idea that piggies had such a royal history 🙂
    Wyatt and Stanzie

  19. Great pictures and pretty piggies! We have never looked for piggies in pictures before. Now we know to keep our eyes open for them! We will be looking 🙂

  20. Agree with Doggy our parents went Peru in January for the Inca Trail and they just could not eat the piggys as they are too cute x

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