Taxidermy Specimen of a Mediterranean Purple Gallinule or Purple Swamphen ‘Porphyrio Porphyrio’
Taxidermy Specimen of a Mediterranean Purple Gallinule or Purple Swamphen ‘Porphyrio Porphyrio’
Taxidermy Specimen of a Mediterranean Purple Gallinule or Purple Swamphen ‘Porphyrio Porphyrio’

Taxidermy Specimen of a Mediterranean Purple Gallinule or Purple Swamphen ‘Porphyrio Porphyrio’

1900 to 2000 Spain

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A Glass Cased Taxidermy Specimen of a Mediterranean Purple Gallinule or Purple Swamphen ‘Porphyrio Porphyrio’
An old label to the reverse inscribed ‘Purple Gallinule N Vejer S. Spain January 5th 1911’
Early 20th Century

Size: 39cm high, 56cm wide, 20cm deep – 15¼ ins high, 22 ins wide, 8 ins deep
Provenance: From the collection of Plas Newydd, the ancestral home of the Marquis of Anglesey, located on the Menai Straits, Anglesey. Now belonging to the National Trust
There are 13 or more subspecies of the Purple Swamphen, which range across the world from the Mediterranean to India, from Australia and south East Asia to North America. They belong to the rail family all of whom are regarded in the West as game birds. They are notable for a number of species that have lost the power to fly. Living in restricted wet areas with no terrestrial enemies to bother them they had no need to fly until man and his dogs, cats and inevitably rats reached their hideaways. The most recent count shows at least 15 distinctive rails and gallinules have vanished forever during the past century. The purple gallinule is now rarely found in the Mediterranean due to habitat loss, hunting and pesticide use and they are now strictly protected.
According to Pliny, the Romans kept purple swamphens such as this example as decorative pets at their large country villas. They were regarded as noble birds and so were one of the very few birds not eaten by them.
Medium
Taxidermy, wood, glass
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