Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Western Ground Parrots in the Lord Braybrooke Collection

Simon Nevill, who is very knowledgeable about Australian birds, noticed two Western Ground Parrots in the Audley End House Collection when he was visiting more than ten years ago. He found that these ground parrots had been sent to Richard Cornwallis Neville, 4th Lord Braybrooke, an avid collector of natural history and archeology, whose home was Audley End House. They were sent by a colonist of the Swan River Colony, on the Unicorn which was due to sail from Fremantle in January 1846. Simon also obtained a copy of part of the consignment list, and part of the accompanying letter to Lord Braybrooke. A photo of the House and part of those copies can be seen in an earlier posting entitled 'Audley End House' and dated October 27 2013. Audley End House is in Cambridgeshire, near Shelford.

There is no information in the letter about the exact source of the Western Ground Parrots. All the birds and animals in that consignment came from 'different parts of the colony'. 

The photos below were kindly provided by English Heritage.

This bird (above) appears to be a mature male - by the colour of the throat and the shape of the upper mandible.
Two males and a female are on the consignment list yet only two appear to be on display. Unsure from this image whether this bird is a male or a female and also it is not known whether the sender was reliable at sexing the birds.
There was a high interest in Europe in collecting during the 1800s as it had become possible to classify specimens and as colonisation continued to expand. The central case (above) contains the Western Ground Parrots as well as many other Australian birds, not all from the Swan River Colony or Western Australia.

No comments:

Post a Comment