uncovered: 350-year-old picture of a dodo before it was extict
The drawing, which dates from the late 1600s, offers a rare insight into the appearance of the flightless bird that was the first recorded casualty of human interference in the habitat of other creatures.
Dodos were the main predators on Mauritius until settlers introduced bigger animals to Indian Ocean island, including pigs. Many were shipped to Europe as curiosities or had their nesting areas destroyed and the species was extinct by 1700.
The 350-year-old drawing, described by Christie's as “vibrant”, is one of a small number of images of the unfortunate bird whose demise was largely unnoticed until a dodo featured in Lewis Carroll’s popular 1865 book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Painted by an unknown artist of the 17th century Dutch school in about 1650, the unframed 10x8 inch picture is expected to fetch up to £6,000 when it is sold by Christie’s in London on July 9.
The auction house believes it differs from existing images, many of which were drawn from a small number of dodos that were put on display in Europe, some of which were later stuffed.