118yo painting discovered in mint condition in Antarctica (PHOTO)
The watercolor painting of a bird by the polar explorer was stumbled upon by conservationists in Cape Adare, a peninsula in the far east of the continent.
The painting was discovered in a hut Wilson most likely hid in during an expedition in 1911 from which he never returned. It was recently found covered in penguin excrement, dust and moldy papers.
Labelled “1899 Tree Creeper,” the delicate artwork depicts a white-breasted tree creeper bird lying on its back, and is thought to be in such impeccable condition because of its tight packing between sheets of paper and being kept in complete darkness and cold.
Antarctic Heritage Trust conservator Josefin Bergmark-Jimenez found the artwork in a portfolio on a bed while clearing out the hut in September 2016 in preparation for its restoration.
Its discovery has been kept under wraps since then, however, while the Antarctic Heritage Trust restored the 1,500 other artifacts recovered from the Cape Adare huts. It will reportedly be returned when the hut’s structure has been restored.
Wilson died along with Captain Robert F. Scott and three other explorers during their return from an expedition to the South Pole in 1912.