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The Queens Ass

The Queens Ass (Zebra). Henry Howard (Published by); 1862. The Bute Archive Mount Stuart

In the year 1762 a female zebra or ‘wild ass’ was given to Queen Charlotte and it became perhaps one of the most recognisable animals in Britain. The original image appeared as an illustration on a satirical song sheet which was a popular medium for serious and satirical political comment at this time. This item is found in a folder dated 1779 but a copy held elsewhere is dated much later, as published by Henry Howard in 1862, the Artist behind the illustration remains unknown.

Bute Archive Mount Stuart

The Bute Collection contains 25,000 rare books and artefacts in one of the UK’s foremost private collections. Housed in the magnificent Gothic revival mansion of Mount Stuart on the isle of Bute, it provides a glimpse into centuries of art and history reflecting the interests of successive generations of the Bute family. Visitors can view everything from works on theology and ornithology to porcelain and custom-made furniture. A recent find of global significance is a Shakespeare First Folio containing many of the Bard’s most familiar plays.

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Let's work together

If you truly treasure something the best way to show that love is to share it. The Keyhole Collection is dedicated to bringing artwork and artefacts to a new audience. We do this by sharing and collaborating. Working with museums, archives, organisations and stately homes we unearth the quirky and the curious. Images and objects which may have lain unloved and out of sight for centuries can be admired and appreciated again. The stories behind their creation seen through new eyes. The cards we produce celebrating the original work and the history behind it but with a fresh, colourful approach designed to appeal to everyone. So if you are curator or archivist and would like to bring your collection to life and attract new visitors please just get in touch. We also work with families and individuals who own special collections and would like to share these in memorable ways with friends and loved ones. Find out more about how we work and the organisations we work with.