Sir Peter Scott1909 - 1989
Painter, Author, Conservationist
Born: September 14, 1909, Glouster, England
Died: August 19, 1989
As an artist, naturalist, author, illustrator, ornithologist, ichthyologist, conservationist, broadcaster, lecturer, and sportsman, Sir Peter Scott is one of the most accomplished men in wildlife art. He studied both zoology and art at Cambridge and graduated in 1931. He later continued his artistic training at the Munich State Academy and the Royal Academy Schools in London. In England, Scott showed his paintings at Ackermanns and the Royal Academy, and, in North America, he exhibited at the Society of Wildlife Artists in New York, the Royal Ontario Museum International Wildlife Show, and numerous private galleries.
During World War II, Scott served in the British Navy commanding small ships and was decorated twice for bravery. In 1946, the artist founded the Severn Wildfowl Trust (now the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, England, with the goals of education, research, conservation, and recreation. The Trust holds the most complete collection of living waterfowl in the world and has expanded to eight locations. Although he lived and worked at the Trust site in Slimbridge, Scott traveled to all seven continents studying birds.
Scott's achievements are impressive, including authoring and co-authoring eighteen books, illustrating over twenty publications, serving as Chancellor of the University of Birmingham for nine years, and receiving seven honorary doctorates from Universities in England, Scotland, and Canada. He also won prizes in sailing and gliding and served as Chairman of the World Wildlife Fund. In 1973, he was awarded the United Nations Pahlavi Prize for the Environment, and in 1986, he received the J. Paul Getty Prize, which is comparable to a Nobel Prize for Conservation. He is the first person to be knighted in Great Britain for conservation efforts.
Scott began painting with watercolors but soon switched to oils. He painted quickly and often worked on multiple paintings at one time. After painting the sky, vegetation, and water, he then added birds to the composition. Throughout his life, he caught and studied live birds in order to get the most realistic effects. The sense of the birds' movement was also important for Scott as an artist.
(Source: Swanson, Gustav A. "Sir Peter Scott: A Lifetime of Accomplishment Reaching Well Beyond the Canvas," Wildlife Art News (March/April 1989): 33-42).