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!
“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 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!
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.