J. Fenwick Lansdowne, often described as the successor to John James Audubon,
was born in 1937 to British parents in Hong Kong. He died in Victoria B.C.,
Canada - where he had lived for many years - just before his 70th birthday in the
summer of 2008. Confined to bed in his childhood by polio, Lansdowne was
taught to paint by his mother, herself an accomplished artist trained in traditional
Chinese watercolor techniques. Since his first exhibition at the age of fifteen,
Lansdowne's art has been exhibited internationally and is represented in many
major collections. The books which he has illustrated and written have also won
Lansdowne critical acclaim. S. Dillon Ripley , Secretary Emeritus of the Smithsonian
Institution, chose Lansdowne to illustrate his definitive ornithological monograph,
Rails of the World, published in 1977. The images completed for this text are
outstanding examples of the fidelity of color and ornithological detail for which
Lansdowne is known.
Rare Birds of China is
Lansdowne's most recent project, one which required
almost ten years to complete. It was commissioned in 1984 as a unique record
of China's rare and endangered birds. From its inception, it has been a truly
international project. The thirty-two birds in the series were selected with the
help of leading Chinese ornithologists, Professors Cheng Tso-Hsin and Hsu
Weishu. This list was compiled with a particular concern for those species
increasingly threatened by environmental hazards and loss of habitat.
Lansdowne traveled extensively in China, visiting museums and observing birds
in zoos and in their natural habitats. Museums in China, England and North
America provided advice and assistance with the loan of bird skins for the artist's
reference. British mountaineer Chris Bonington took detailed photographs
of the habitats of Himalayan species for the artist's use.
A series of 32 collotype prints by
Printed on Fabriano 160 g/m 100 % Rag, measuring 32 x 25 inches.
One hundred print sets, signed
by the artist and numbered 1/100
to 100/100, available for sale worldwide.
Printed over a three and a half year
period, completed in early 1994,
in up to 12 colors. Hand-pulled on nineteenth century presses at Jaffe
Collotype, Vienna. All printing plates destroyed after editioning;
documentation of the destruction of these materials on record.
Each set of 32 prints is accompanied
by a brochure containing an
introduction by S. Dillon Ripley and detailed ornithological notes by
Professor Hsu Weishu of the Beijing Natural History Museum and
Michael P. Walters of the Natural History Museum (Tring) in the
United Kingdom. The portfolio and brochure are contained in a
presentation box for archival storage, specially designed and made
by A. W. Lumsden, Bookbinders, of Edinburgh.
The full boxed set of 32 prints is
available for $25,000. each.
A limited number of individual prints are available for $1,000. each.
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