An “almost perfectly preserved” watercolour painting has been discovered in an historic hut in Antarctica, dating back more than 118 years.
The painting, dated 1889, is of a ‘Tree Creeper’ bird. It was painted by scientist Dr Edward Wilson who died alongside Captain Robert Falcon Scott and three others on their return from the South Pole in 1912.
It was found at Cape Adare and was originally discovered in September last year among dust, mould and penguin excrement.
The find was kept confidential until now to allow the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust to preserve more than 1500 other artefacts.
The Antarctic conditions were the perfect way to preserve the painting.
Water colour paintings are particularly susceptible to light so the fact this work has spent more than a hundred years tightly packed between other sheets of paper in completely dark and cold conditions is an ideal way to store it.
Trust general manager Francesca Eathorne says it is a poignant reminder of the legacy the early explorers left behind.