Saturday, January 11, 2014

Miss Bet--London Zoo 1870

Watercolour, pen and ink and pencil on paper.

The incident happened on a bitterly cold day in December 1870 when the Indian rhinoceros fell through the ice into a deep pond. All the available keepers were summoned to pull her out. The Zoo’s Superintendent, A.D. Bartlett (wearing a top hat) is seen directing the dangerous operation. Miss Bet survived the ordeal unharmed and died in 1873.   She had lived in the Zoo since 1850.  The Bartlett Society

Ernest Griset (1843-1907), who died 100 years ago, was a well-known caricaturist of the nineteenth century. His illustrations in books and satirical magazines including Punch contributed to their popularity and success.
The hallmark of Griset’s work was to base his caricatures on animals either in human guise or behaving in a human-like manner. The inspiration for these amusing figures came from Griset’s regular visits to ZSL London Zoo.

The painting of Miss Bet is one of four of Griset’s paintings held in the ZSL Library.

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