RICHARD E. BISHOP
Although Mr. Bishop is best known
as an artist, author, photographer, and sportsman, his formal
training and first career were in engineering. He was born
in Syracuse, New York on May 30, 1887, the son of Richard
Whitney and Minnie (Blackall) Bishop. He graduated from Cornell
University in 1909 with an M.E. degree and went to work as
an electrical engineer for the Cutler-Hammer Manufacturing
Company in Milwaukee. In 1915 he married the former Mary Ellen
He served as a Captain in the
Army Chemical Warfare Service during World War 1, receiving
his discharge in 1919. The young couple moved to Philadelphia
where Mr. Bishop worked at a manufacturing plant as both Secretary
and Sales Manager, positions he held until his retirement
from business in 1933. Early in his tenure at the factory,
with an inviting pile of copper plates at hand, and his natural
yen and flair for drawing, he waxed a plate and scribed his
first etching with the aid of a phonograph needle.
It was to be expected that his
subject should be birds, for he was an enthusiastic wildfowler
and a top-ranking field shot. Being an engineer as well, and
a perfectionist, he wanted to portray the wing action and
flight of birds as correctly as possible. High-speed photography
was the answer, and with characteristic thoroughness he took
thousands of feet of movie film of birds in flight at the
rate of 128 frames per second. His pictures of birds are among
the finest ever taken. He has applied the knowledge gained
from careful study of these pictures, and from field observations
and sketches, to many art media: etchings, drypoints, aqua
prints, oil paintings, watercolors, jewelry, tiles, medals,
glassware, and china.
His handsomely decorated glassware
and china are widely admired, but book lovers cherish the
beautiful books he produced.
Bishop's Birds, 1936, contains
73 Bishop etchings done between 1924 and 1936, reproduced
in aquatone. It was the first complete publication of his
work. Bishop's Wildfowl, 1948, is a collection of reproductions
of etchings and oil paintings, with 12 color plates.
Wings, 1962, was done in collaboration with Mr. Edgar M. Queeny,
and consists of pen and camera flight studies with explanatory
sketches by Mr. Bishop.
For two years during World War
II, Mr. Bishop returned to engineering as head of the Production
Division of the War Production Board in Philadelphia, and
later became Deputy Director.
In 1950, and again in 1953,
Mr. Edgar M. Queeny organized two safaris in Africa under
the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History in
New York for the purpose of recording native birds and animals
on film and soundtrack. Mr. Bishop was invited to join both
expeditions, and in addition, has traveled throughout North
and South America, Great Britain, and the Pacific Islands.
Mr. Bishop was a member of the
American Society of Etchers, Chicago Society of Etchers, Print
Makers of California, Zoology Society of Philadelphia, Academy
of Natural Sciences, Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and
numerous clubs. His work has been exhibited at the Academy
of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Chicago Art Institute; Cleveland
Museum of Art; National Academy, New York; and National Museum
in Washington, D. C.