Scientists Stunned To Discover Rare Painting Explorer Left Behind Over 100 Years Ago

If you’re traveling to Antarctica, there’s a good chance you’ve decided to prepare yourself for the unexpected. The desolate and frosty continent is not your average vacation destination, so chances are you have some business to tend to if you’re heading there.

Paper conservator Josefin Bergmark-Jimenez fell into that group, as she was among a group of scientists that was in Cape Adare, a peninsula on the continent's far east side. The group came across an old hut and was preparing it for restoration when they would make an absolutely fascinating discovery.

As Fox News shares, they would discover a 118-year-old painting by one of Britain's most famous explorers. Dr. Edward Wilson, a British polar explorer who died in Antarctica with his expedition leader Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, was the artist behind the painting, which was labeled '1899 Tree Creeper.'

"I opened it and there was this gorgeous painting. I got such a fright that I jumped and shut the portfolio again,” Bergmark-Jimenez explained. "I then took the painting out and couldn't stop looking at it - the colours, the vibrancy, it is such a beautiful piece of work. I couldn't believe it was there."

The painting depicts a white-breasted tree creeper bird, but the group had no idea how it wound up in the hut. Wilson’s expedition happened in 1911, so there was a gap period that was unaccounted for.

They would scratch their heads while clearing out the rest of the hut, but it was to no avail. After some further digging, they would start to make sense of things with the assistance of Antarctic Heritage Trust program manager Lizzie Meek.

"The Cape Adare huts were built by Norwegian Carsten Borchgrevink's expedition in 1899 and later used by Captain Scott's party in 1911," Meek said. "We knew the artist was likely to be among the men on those expeditions."

Bergmark-Jimenez just happened to take in one of Meek’s lectures, and she put two and two together to put the mystery to bed. Sounds like Wilson and company had some amazing travels back in the day, so we can assume that hut contained all sorts of interesting stuff.

The painting was simply sitting in a portfolio that had been left on a bed, but it was pretty well hidden among the penguin excrement, dust and moldy papers that the hut was filled with.

"The presenter showed some of Dr. Wilson's artwork," she explains. "As soon as I saw his distinctive handwriting, I knew he had painted the Tree Creeper. This made sense as there was also a 1911 newspaper article from the Lyttelton Times in the papers and Scott's party went to Antarctica via New Zealand."

Bergmark-Jimenez and company discovered the painting last year, but they kept it under wraps so that the Antarctic Heritage Trust had the time they needed to focus on restoring the boatload of other artifacts they recovered from the hut. Sounds like the painting may just be the tip of the iceberg, and it’ll be interesting to see what else they found in their travels.

Source: Fox News
Photo: YouTube

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