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Grey Squirrel
Graphite on Paper
Approx 42x42cm (unframed)

This drawing continues a series focused on invasive species of wildlife found in London. It combines a study of the Grey Squirrel, with a drawn map of the fringe of Kensington Gardens and the Royal Albert Hall, as it was c1896.

The Grey Squirrel (sciurus carolinensis) is native to eastern and midwestern United States, but is now an incredibly common sight throughout Britain, where it has quickly displaced the more diminutive Red Squirrel through out-competing it. The genus 'sciurus' has a particularly satisfying etymology, being derived from the Greek 'skia' (tail) and 'oura' (shadow).

Most accounts suggest that the Grey Squirrel was introduced to the UK in the 1870s, when country estates had them imported as fashionable additions to their grounds. The very first record of such an import is usually attributed to Thomas Brocklehurst, a banker who lived at Henbury Park, Cheshire.

Estimates suggest there are now more than 5 million Greys in the UK, with Reds in marked decline, at around 120,000.