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The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. Related to pigeons and doves, it stood about 720mm (30") high weighing more than 50 pounds and according to Herbert, 1634); modern estimates vary between 10 and 22kg, living on fruit and nesting on the ground.
Using all the information I had gathered and my knowledge of bird anatomy, a scale model of a Plasticise dodo was sculpted. Once the overall shape was achieved the pose was chosen. Many recreation dodos are made standing, whereas I believe a walking pose would give movement and interest.
Happy with the finished manikin the head and feet were removed and remodelled separately. Slight alterations were made to the body to make the casting easier and a fibre glass jacket was used to produce foam blanks.
The feet were made initially by moulding turkey's feet in a walking pose then using an expanding process to increase the size and produce large life-like feet and these were finally cast in a two part plastic. The head was sculpted with epoxy over a cast skull and modelled with the eyes removed. Once moulded this was cast in a two part plastic using a swilling technique to produce a hollow head and the eyes were fitted from the inside.
Now all the main components were put together, the feet were attached to the body and the head added to achieve the correct angle. Large sections of feathers were placed on the manikin and working from back to front, using taxidermy techniques and feather placement, the model was finally covered. Using historical descriptions and colour shading from birds of a similar feathering, the head and feet were painted.
Small detail finally completed the bird.
The dodo is an iconic figure, this being the best image; many drawings and paintings over the centuries have been produced from this. It shows a very large body with a very high head carriage, which is understandable from the shortage of information about this bird.
A well-known paper written by Andrew Kitchener on the size of the dodo implies the bird has a much slighter build and is not as heavy as shown in the iconic image. The high head carriage is an artistic interpretation and many skeletons are built this way. The bird would be able to lift its head correctly to a similar height as a pheasant, but a more comfortable height carriage is shown in the recreation, being similar to what looks natural and comfortable for a pheasant.
Many recreations have been made in the last century showing fully developed primary feathers which seem incorrect for a flightless bird and old paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries show more of an undeveloped wing. The conclusion, therefore, is a lighter framed recreation, but not too dissimilar from the iconic image; a lower, comfortable life like head carriage showing a more inquisitive bird with the undeveloped wing referred to earlier.
The walking pose shows movement, composition and, hopefully, life.
This life size dodo recreation is finished to a high standard and is shown in the standard pose, walking and looking over its left shoulder. Other poses are possible but will need to be commissioned specially. These dodo recreations are made exclusively on a commission only basis, numbered and recorded individually.
A limited number will be produced each year to maintain the excellent quality and ensure these recreations will never be mass produced.
Please contact me to commission a dodo - price on application.
The first dodo recreation has been in a very exclusive large private collection for the first six months, but now I can proudly say it is on stand for public viewing at Kendal museum, station Road Kendal, LA9 6BT 01539 721374 www.kendalmuseum.org.uk
Some of the merchandise from Kendle museum which has help there dodo
The 2nd Dodo was commission for the television program Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask
Following the success of the Bank Holiday Special, Dave has commissioned a further six episodes of Alexander Armstrong's Big Ask which will be broadcast throughout February/March 2012.
'ALEXANDER ARMSTRONG'S BIG ASK' STARTS 6th FEBRUARY 2012
Hosted by Alexander Armstrong, the show invites guest panellists to think up fiendish questions to outfox their fellow contestants. Alexander orchestrates and arbitrates while extra information is provided by our man in the Fact Bunker with the voice from Come Dine With Me, Dave Lamb.
The series boasts a fabulous line-up of comedians including Jimmy Carr, Graham Norton, Russell Kane, Robert Webb, Ed Byrne, Mark Watson, Clive Anderson, Sandi Toksvig, Marcus Brigstocke, Andi Osho and Rufus Hound.
It's a show packed with jokes and bizarre facts. There's more information here.
ALEXANDER ARMSTRONG'S BIG Ask
Every Monday on Dave from 6th February (9.00pm and 12.20am)
Repeated every Wednesday (10.00pm) and every Friday (9.40pm)
After the television appearance the dodo had a short stay on my for sale page and now is in a private collection.