Wildlife artist Robert Gillmor’s exhibition in Cley

Temple, Bishop and Bean, seals at Blakeney Point, by Robert Gillmor

Temple, Bishop and Bean, seals at Blakeney Point, by Robert Gillmor - Credit: Robert Gillmor

Dazzling patterns of plumage, intricate mazes of trees and bright, bold colours sing from the glorious pictures of artist and ornithologist Robert Gillmor

His pictures have travelled the world, flying thousands of miles from their creation in north Norfolk. Birds, in intricate silhouette or perfectly rendered in dazzling patterns of clear-cut shape and colour, have been transformed from striking prints into book covers and illustrations, prints, cards, logos and postage stamps.

Robert Gillmor is one of the best-known wildlife artists working in Britain today. Now 81, he’s been called “the grandfather of wildlife art,” and for the past 20 years he has lived overlooking the Cley Marshes Wildlife Reserve, where he has been able to combine his love of ornithology and creating bold, bright, fluid prints capturing birds in flight or on the rippling seashore, the close-up lace of a dragonfly wing or the grandeur of a wide open landscape.

“We holidayed here for 18 years, and when the children fledged we looked for somewhere in Cley to live permanently,” said Robert, whose wife, Susan Norman, is also an artist.

In 2015 Robert was made an MBE for his services to wildlife art. His exquisite drawings, paintings and prints have featured in more than 500 books and he has designed dozens of covers and jackets for the Collins New Naturalist series, as well as eight sets of stamps for the Royal Mail.

Robert was just 16 when his first illustrations were published in a national birding magazine and he went on to help design the familiar avocet logo for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Avocets, along with egrets, heron and oyster catchers are among his favourite subjects. “There are certain birds, some of the long-legged waders that give me particular pleasure,” said Robert, who now works almost exclusively in linocut prints, saying that the simple, bold, clear-cut, images they create help to focus on the essential characteristics of a bird or animal.

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His latest book, published this month, features pictures from the past 10 years. An entirely Norfolk production, Pressing On, a decade of new linocuts, was written, illustrated, published and printed in the county.

It will be launched at an exhibition of around 200 of his pictures, including 46 linocuts of birds and farm animals he produced for the Royal Mail, at the Pinkfoot Gallery in Cley. His last exhibition sold out in the first week and this one, which could be his last major show, will open three days early for telephone sales. Robert will donate a share of profits to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.


Pressing On, a decade of new linocuts, by Robert Gillmor, is published in hardback for £25 by Mascot Media. mascotmedia.co.uk

The book will be launched at the opening of an exhibition of linocuts by Robert Gillmor, at the Pinkfoot Gallery in Cley, on Saturday, April 28. The exhibition runs until May 11. pinkfootgallery.co.uk

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