Global Art Hunt for David Shepherd Originals
‘New Network Honouring a Wildlife Art Heritage’
A major new worldwide search has been launched, to track down hundreds of original artworks by world famous wildlife artist David Shepherd – one year after his death.
It’s believed his paintings have ended up all over the world and now owners of originals by the renowned conservationist and painter are invited to join an exclusive new art network called the ‘David Shepherd Originals Circle’.
The art hunt is being coordinated by the charity founded by the artist – the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF). The owners’ Circle will allow lovers of David’s art to honour his incredible art heritage, by sharing memories and recording their original artworks in a new catalogue. An interactive map is also being built, to showcase the global reach of the artist’s work.
David Shepherd CBE FRSA (1931-2017) was a hugely talented and prolific artist who lived and breathed the ‘art of survival’. He was best known for his stunning paintings of endangered wildlife, such as elephants and tigers. His originals depicting steam trains and vintage aeroplanes are also highly sought after by collectors.
David’s daughter Melanie Shepherd, who is Chair of DSWF’s Trustees, said it was very important for the artist’s family that his unique legacy of wonderful art and vital wildlife conservation continued following his death.
“My father was a remarkable and very charming man, with charisma as huge as his talent. He seemed to make a lasting impression on whomever he met, as he travelled the world painting and spreading his conservation message,” she said.
“We would love to collect stories, anecdotes and tall tales about his adventures, so that memories of his amazing life of art and wildlife can live on.
“We hope that people who treasure my father’s original artworks will come forward and join our new owners’ family Circle, to share their stories and experiences with us. It would also be wonderful to build up a picture of where in the world his hundreds of prized artworks have ended up.”
Plans are afoot to organise special events and art exhibitions for Circle members – to share and celebrate David’s love of art and wildlife. Members will also be offered exclusive opportunities to buy and sell David Shepherd originals.
Christopher Oliver, a property executive from Surrey, treasures three beautiful wildlife paintings, which he commissioned personally from the artist over 10 years ago.
“I have one painting which is a Highland scene with a stag and it still takes my breath away every time I see it,” he said. “I feel honoured to own David Shepherd originals and I would love to pass them onto my sons. David was a wonderful artist and we must celebrate that.
“But he was also one of the great conservationists of his generation – he was an icon and there was nobody on this planet who was more passionate about wildlife than him. We need to keep banging the drum, to continue spreading his conservation message.”
David Shepherd started his career as an aviation artist and owed a great deal to the armed services, which commissioned paintings that took him all over the world. The RAF flew him to Kenya in 1960, which proved a turning point in his career when they commissioned his very first wildlife painting – a rhino on a runway – and he never looked back.
It was at this time that he became a conservationist overnight when he came across 255 dead zebra at a poisoned waterhole in Tanzania. Throughout his career David tried to do all he could to repay the enormous debt he felt he owed to the elephants, tigers and other animals that gave him so much success as an artist.
In 1984 he established the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation to channel his own conservation efforts and to fund vital enforcement and community projects that continue to make a real difference to wildlife survival. To date, through his tireless efforts, and thanks to the generosity of the foundation’s dedicated supporters, including artists from around the world, over £9 million has been given away directly in grants to key conservation projects in Africa and Asia.
The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s CEO Karen Botha said all at DSWF were passionate about continuing David’s vision – the Art of Survival: to fight wildlife crime, protect endangered species and engage with communities on the ground, inspiring people to care for wildlife and wild places.
“Wildlife crime such as poaching of elephants, rhinos and tigers has reached critical levels and it’s more important now than ever before to act to save these endangered animals,” said Karen.
“It’s a year since we lost David, our inspirational founder, and we are determined to capture the spirit of his amazing energy and talent and use it as a force for good. It would be wonderful to develop a worldwide fellowship of David Shepherd art lovers, to continue raising awareness of his mission to protect the wildlife he loved so much.”
His daughter Melanie added: “We need to encourage wildlife enthusiasts, artists and art collectors around the world to join us in the fight against wildlife crime – with hundreds of Dad’s beloved jumbos still being slaughtered every week, we have to do everything we can to continue his legacy to fight for their survival for future generations.”
If you own an original David Shepherd painting or sketch and would like to join the ‘David Shepherd Originals Circle’ to share your stories of this remarkable man and catalogue your artwork, you can register here