Gallery to display one of earliest guinea pig paintings

Art experts think they have uncovered one of the first ever portraits of a pet guinea pig.

A 16th century oil painting showing the animal being cradled between three children will go on show at a new exhibition later this year.

Three young children are pictured holding the animal. Credit: National Portrait Gallery

The portrait, believed to have been painted around 1580 by an unknown artist, shows three young children holding the animal which had recently been introduced into Europe from South America by Spanish merchants.

It will form part of an exhibition, called Elizabeth I And Her People, which opens at the National Portrait Gallery in central London in October.

A close up image of the guinea pig painting. Credit: National Portrait Gallery