Illustration Art Gallery

The very best from the wide, sometimes overlooked, world of illustration art, including original artwork for book illustrations and covers, comic books and comic strips, graphic novels, magazines, film animation cels, newspaper strips, poster art, album covers, plus superb fine art reproductions and high quality art prints.

Our gallery brings together artists from all over the world and from many backgrounds, including fantasy, horror, romance, science fiction, education, sport, history, nature, technology, humour, glamour, architecture, film & tv, whimsy, even political satire and caricature.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Roland Green

Roland Green was a noted nature artist, particularly known for his pictures of birds, which he painted in oils and watercolours.

He was born Roland Green in Rainham, Kent, in January 1890, the son of Roland Green, a taxidermist, and his wife Emily Filmer (nee XXXX), whom he married in the 1880s. Roland was their third child and first son, following Ivy (1885) and Daisy Eunice (1886). According to one biography, Green's father "taught him how to skin, stuff and set up birds, which gave Roland a fine knowledge of anatomy and plumage. Whilst at school he showed a gift for drawing and painting birds and went on to study at the Rochester School of art as well as Regent Street Polytechnic."

By 1911, Green was working as an artist/lithographer in London, the family having moved to Seven Kings, Essex, where Green's father was now employed as a joiner in the building trade. He later moved to Hickling in Norfolk, where his work attracted the attention of Lord Desborough, owner of the Hickling Estate. Green was commissioned to paint the frieze on the walls of Whitelea Lodge depicting the birds of the Hickling Broad.

Green illustrated a number of books, including contributions to The Birds of Australia by Gregory Mathews (London, Witherby, 12 vols., 1910-27) following the death in 1912 of J. G. Keulemans, who illustrated the first four volumes. Other books include Birds in Flight by W. P. Pycraft, The Bird Book by Enid Blyton, Wing to Wing by E. H. Ware  and The Ladybird Book of British Wild Animals by George Cansdale.

Green died in Norfolk in 1972, aged 82. He never married. A large collection – 120 watercolours and 7 oil paintings – of Green's artwork amassed by Commander David Joel, a schoolboy when he was first introduced to Green, was sold in 2012 with profits going to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society.

Joel said in an interview: "There was not anyone on the Broads who did not know about Roland Green. He lived in the reedbeds and people thought he was a hermit, but he was anything but. He was an extrovert who gave talks at school and loved enthusing children with his love of art ... Modern artists use photographs but Green worked only from observation and that is why his birds look absolutely real." Joel has written a tribute to Green, A Homage to Roland Green – His Norfolk Legacy (2012), published by St. Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington.

Note: Wikipedia gives his name as Roland J. Green, but there is no record of Green having a middle name or initial.


Wing-Tips: The Identification of Birds in Flight. London, A. & C. Black, 1947.
Sketching Birds. London, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 1948.
How I Draw Birds: A Practical Guide for the Bird-Watcher. London, A. & C. Black, 1951.

Illustrated Books
The British Bird Book by the Rev. Canon Theodore Wood and W. P. Pycraft. London, A. & C. Black, 1921.
Birds One Should Know, Beneficial and Mischievous by Rev. Canon Theodore Wood. London, Gay & Hancock, 1921.
Birds in Flight by W. P. Pycraft. London, Gay & Hancock, 1922.
Birds and Their Young by T. A. Coward. London, Gay & Hancock, 1923. The Bird Book by Enid Blyton. London, George Newnes, 1926.
Ornithologist's Field Note Book by Ronald M. Garnett. Holt, Norfolk, Rounce & Westley, 1932. [Frontispiece]
How to Look at Birds by Thomas Lewis Bartlett. London, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 1945.
The Children's Book of British Birds and Verses by Katherine Lloyd. London, Foy Publications, 1946.
British Birds by Wilfred Willett. London, Foy Publications, 12 vols., 1946-47.
Wing to Wing by E. H. Ware. London, Paternoster Press, 1946.
British Birds in Their Haunts by the late Rev. C. A. Johns, illus. with William Foster; 25th ed. edited & revised by W. B. Alexander. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1948.
The Ladybird Book of British Wild Animals by George Cansdale. Loughborough, Ladybird Books, 1958.
Birds of Cyprus by David A. Bannerman & W. Mary Bannerman, illus. with D. M. Reid-Henry. Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd, 1958.

Examples of Roland Green's artwork can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.

1 comment:

  1. To add to your section of book illustrated

    Life of Birds by T A Coward published 1931 by A and C Black
    Book is No 4 of 20 in a collection called How and Why Series edited by Gerald Bullett. Contains 15 illustrations

    I found your biography very interesting Thank you

    Nicky Bullett researching my great uncle