SIR PETER SCOTT
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.