4 Inspirational British Wildlife Artists

If you are interested in commissioning a bespoke weathervane or other piece of decorative metalwork, then no doubt you have put some thought into how you want the final design to look. You may already have a definite idea in mind, such as a favourite pet or car. 

However, if you are still in need of some inspiration, it can be helpful to have a look at the work of some of Britain's great wildlife artists. This may spark off some new ideas about subject matter and composition that you have not thought of before. Here are just a few of the artists worth looking at.

David Shepherd

David Shepherd (1931-2017) was celebrated for his wildlife art, and he also painted steam locomotives and aircraft. His work remains hugely popular and he was one of the most commercially successful UK artists of all time. You may already be familiar with his work which has adorned millions of prints, posters, mugs, and plates.

Shepherd was a committed conservationist and was especially concerned with endangered wildlife across Africa and Asia. His iconic paintings of elephants and tigers are best known, but he painted a range of wildlife from the mighty polar bear to the humble dormouse. 

Robert Gillmor

Robert Gillmor (1936-2022) studied at Reading School of Fine Art and went on to become an eminent wildlife artist and illustrator. He was an ornithologist who worked on behalf of the RSPB, the British Ornithologists’ Union, and he designed the first version of the RSPB’s Avocet logo. 

He worked in a range of mediums, including line drawing, watercolour, lino cuts and silk screen prints. Gillmor was also the cover artist for the publisher Collins’ New Naturalist series, producing 33 covers as well as 30 gallery editions. His range of stamp designs for Royal Mail includes Birds of Britain, Fur & Feathers, and Farm Animals. 

Charles Tunnicliffe

Charles Tunnicliffe (1901-1979) was born in Macclesfield but spent most of his working life in Anglesey. He won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art in London. He worked in the media of watercolour, oil paint, etching, wood engraving, woodcut, aquatint, and scratchboard. 

He often depicted birds in their natural habitat, and his work was praised for being accurate and lifelike, yet not overly scientific and inexpressive. He was in demand as an illustrator, most famously providing many of the wildlife illustrations for the Ladybird children’s books. Much of his original work is now on display at the Oriel Ynys Mon near Llangefni.

Kendra Haste

Kendra Haste (b.1971) is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London and is acclaimed for her contemporary animal sculptures. She works in the medium of galvanised wire, and her most notable work to date is possibly the Royal Palaces Commission for 13 sculptures for the Tower of London. 

Her range of subject matter includes hares, horses, owls, red stags, British bulldogs, and grizzly bears. Her sculptures capture the form and movement of the animals in a way that expresses their unique spirit.