Origin: English Period: George III & Late 20thC Provenance: Unknown Date: c.1990 (the specimens) & c.1770 (the posts) The Columns: Height: 22 inches Bases: 7.75 x 7.25 inches With Specimens: 28.5 & 26 inches high respectively
The pair of contemporary preserved Eurasian magpie (Pica, pica) specimens perched opposing restfully, rod-mounted on a pair of eighteenth century Neo-Classical Stop-fluted Columns each with a crested scroll capital and a frieze to the base carved with a putto and foliage, on a later stepped square plinth.
I am a wondrous creature, I vary my voice, sometimes I bark like a dog, sometimes I bleat like a goat, sometimes I bellow like a goose, sometimes I yell like a hawk, sometimes I echo the ashy eagle, the noise of the war-bird, sometimes the voice of the kite I convey from my mouth, sometimes the gull’s song, where I sit gladly.
“There is a certain kind of magpie that can learn words; they become fond of some words, and not only repeat them but can be seen to ponder them. To learn a word they must hear it said often, and if a word is too difficult for them to learn they may die. When they forget a word they cheer up greatly when they hear it spoken.” Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 10, 50)