The Mount Stewart Dodo – Large

£4,800.00 + VAT
Height: 66.00cm [23.62 inches]
Width: 90.00cm [35.43 inches]
Depth: 50.00cm [19.69 inches]

First recorded in 1598, the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was endemic to the Island of Mauritius, sadly being declared extinct by 1662.

Mount Stewart sits grandly beside Strangford Lough on the west coast of Northern Ireland. The estate, now in custodianship of the National Trust, is today restored to the vision of Lady Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry.

A debutant in 1899, Edith was married the same year to Charles (Charley) Vane-Tempest-Stewart, later the 7th Marquess of Londonderry. A woman of both charm and character (having a snake tattoo on her leg!), Edith was a persuasive suffragist and founder of the Woman’s Legion, receiving a Damehood for her services.

With a house on Park Lane, London, Lady Edith hosted society soirées for the great and the good of the day. Latterly, during the War, she convened convivial gatherings, which came to be known as the Ark, these meetings continuing at Mount Stewart where Edith and family moved to as their primary residence in 1919. For fun, Ark members were given animal names such as: Winston (Churchill) the Warlock, Lady Astor was Nancy the Gnat, Harold (Macmillan) the Hummingbird and the Prince of Wales was David the Dragon. The Dodo referenced Edith’s Father, Lord Chaplin, a member of Parliament for over 35 years and so ‘in danger of extinction’. Their perennial host, Lady Edith, being Circe the Sorceress and her Husband Charley the/a Cheetah!

With her loyal gardener Thomas Bolas, Edith set out in 1921 on the thirty-year journey to extend and improve the Gardens of Mount Stewart. With her influences ranging from the Italianate, see Boboli Gardens, and Villa Farnese, to an exotic mix of legend and folklore, all within the microclimate of the Ards Peninsular ‘a gardeners paradise’, which allows almost anything to grow…

With a touch of Alice in Wonderland, the Dodo Terrace and Ark, alongside a multitude of animals (Ark Members), were fashioned and cast by a local builder, one Mr Thomas Beattie, ranging from Frog to Fox, Dragon to Dinosaur; sitting alongside many a Baboon-capped column and other exotic ornament that proliferate the Italian garden.

Here we have sought to replicate the iconic Mount Stewart Dodo, now carved in natural limestone, to the original, medium and small sizes.

A contribution from the sale of every Dodo will be made in support of the National Trust’s conservation work, to ensure the nation’s historic houses, gardens and open spaces can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Photography credits:

© National Trust Image
© National Trust Image

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