Ernest Griset online exhibition - Artefact of the Month January 2013
ZSL has four original watercolour drawings by Ernest Griset which are important to the history of ZSL because he painted historical events at a time when photography was in its infancy, as well as being splendid illustrations in the their own right.
Griset was born in France in 1843. The family moved to England and settled in north London when Griset was young. It is not known if Griset received any formal art teaching but surviving artwork shows he had an exceptional talent for making naturalistic studies of individual animals that are full of life and marvelously observant. Luckily, he was present at some momentous events in the Zoo’s history and recorded them with his brush including the arrival of the first live penguin, the sad death of the baby hippopotamus Umzivooboo, and rescuing the hippopotamus Miss Bet from drowning. Below are the four Griset paintings held in the ZSL Library.