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J. Fenwick Lansdowne: Rare Birds of China

October 16, 1998 - October 16, 1998

In 1956, then Executive Director of the National Audubon Society of Canada, John A. Livingstone, recognized the talent of a young Fen Lansdowne. Livingstone arranged for an exhibition of Lansdowne’s work at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Lansdowne was just 19 years of age.

Today, Fen Lansdowne is widely considered the finest painter of birds in the world and his paintings are found internationally in major art museums and collections.

In 1984, Lansdowne was commissioned by David Newbigging and James D. Wolfensohn to paint 32 of China’s most rare and endangered birds. Lansdowne visited China in 1988 to study the birds and their habitats.

To paint accurately, Lansdowne requires the actual skins of the birds he paints. Locating the skins of the birds for this project was particularly difficult as the birds are, by nature, rare. Skins were eventually gathered from the ROM, the American Museum of Natural History and the British Museum.

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