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National Portrait Gallery discover first ever Guinea Pig portrait

Posted at 5:15 pm, August 21, 2013 in Arts & Entertainment
Three Unknown Elizabethan children Unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist, c.1580 Privately Owned

Turn off that video of Kemosabe the porcupine and get with the times. Guinea Pigs are totally the animal of the day. And yesterday. And 433 years before that. This week, it was announced that The National Portrait Gallery has discovered a painting that may contain the first ever portrait of one of the fluffy squeakers. The image – which is part of the forthcoming Elizabeth I and Her People exhibition opening in October – depicts three young children with a rather disproportionate guinea pig sitting in the lap of a 7-year-old girl. It was painted by an unknown Anglo-Netherlandish artist in 1580 but the rest is a mystery. Now, it’s certainly not the first or last painting that includes some form of animal but we do wonder what will be discovered next. Maybe a tree frog with an elderly woman from 1783? Or an undiscovered treasure capturing a red panda with a Campbell’s soup can from 1961? Whatever we find next, we’re pretty pleased that our obsession with pets has been recorded since the 16th Century, otherwise the internet is going to look pretty bad in another 500 years’ time. Carly-Ann Clements

Find out more about the exhibition at npg.org.uk.

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