Watercolour painting from Scott’s expedition to Antarctica found

A watercolour painting of a dead tree creeper bird, found in Antarctica’s oldest building in Cape Adare, Victoria Land, East Antarctica, revealed to be a made by a British scientist of the Scott expedition to the South Pole in 1912.

Watercolour painting of a tree creeper made by Scott’s expedition (by The Antarctic Heritage Trust)

The picture, labelled “1899 Tree Creeper” signed with a “T” initial, was found in a pile of papers covered in mould and penguin excrement in a hut built by Norwegian explorers prior to Scott’s ill-fated expedition. The author is believed to be British scientist Dr Edward Wilson, who was one of the victims of the endeavour to reach the South Pole. The painting was discovered last year but kept a secret so that conservators could restore it together with 1500 other artefacts from the huts built in 1899. The author was born in 1872 in Cheltenham, England, where an art gallery and museum are named after him and display permanent collections of his work. He was identified as the author after a conservator attended a lecture on his work and realised it was him after seeing some other work and samples of his distinctive handwriting. According to the researchers the painting preserved in such good condition because it has spent more than 100 years tightly packed between other sheets of paper in completely dark and cold conditions. A high-quality reproduction of the painting has been made at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch before the watercolour is returned to its final resting place back at Antarctic.

The painting after conservation as it was amongst a pile of papers covered in mould and penguin excrement (by The Antarctic Heritage Trust)

(after The Antarctic Heritage Trust & BBC News)

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