Robert Gillmor

Robert Gillmor (born Reading, Berkshire, 1936) is an ornithologist, artist, illustrator, author and editor, from England. He is a founder member of the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) and has been its secretary, chairman and president. He has contributed to over 100 books, and in 2001 was a recipient of the RSPB Medal.[1][2][3]

Robert Gillmor
Robert Gillmor 2010-03-23
Gillmor in March 2010, during a week as artist in residence at Nature in Art, standing in front of a limited-edition linocut of his cover art for Birds New to Norfolk, depicting a red-breasted nuthatch.
Reading, Berkshire, England
OccupationArtist and illustrator
Notable work
New Naturalist book jackets since 1985.
AwardsRSPB Medal

Early life

Gillmor was educated at Leighton Park School, Reading and the School of Fine Art at Reading University. He was just 16 when his illustrations were first published, in the monthly magazine British Birds. When he was a student in the art department of Reading University, he illustrated his first book, A Study of Blackbirds. Gillmor taught art and craft at his old school for six years, Leighton Park in Reading before commencing a freelance career as a wildlife artist in 1965.

Later career

Gillmor's output has been enormous and in a variety of forms, line drawing watercolour, lino-cuts and silk screen. Since his first book in 1958, his work has since appeared in over 100 books.[1]

Moving from Reading to Cley next the Sea in Norfolk in 1998[1] proved an inspiring influence on his work. He resumed making lino-cuts. He is also a keen ornithologist, and has served on council for all three of the national organisations, RSPB, British Ornithologists' Union and the British Trust for Ornithology. He designed the first version of the RSPB's Avocet logo.[4]

He has illustrated the covers of the annual reports of the Berkshire Ornithological Club (previously Reading Ornithological Club) since 1950.[1] He is a long-standing member (and former president) of the Reading Guild of Artists.[1]


After founding the Society of Wildlife Artists with Eric Ennion in the early 1960s, Robert served as its secretary and chairman for many years. He was also elected president in 1984 and served for two five-year periods, he is currently a vice-president of the society. As well as working to promote current work, Robert has done much to promote work of past artists, including Charles Tunnicliffe, (editing three books) and his grandfather, Professor Allen W. Seaby (1867–1953), who instilled in him a love of printmaking.


In 2011, Gillmor completed lino-cuts for four sets of postage stamps for Royal Mail, with a further three sets (of six stamps each) to come in 2012.[1]

A retrospective of Gillmor's work was exhibited at Reading Museum from 23 October 2011 to 29 April 2012.[5]


  • — (2006). Cutting Away: the linocuts of Robert Gillmor. Peterborough. ISBN 978-1-904078-14-2. Archived from the original on 1 November 2011.
  • — (2011). Birds, Blocks and Stamps: Post & Go Birds of Britain. Reading: Two Rivers Press. ISBN 978-1-901677-79-9.
  • — (2014). Robert Gilmor's Norfolk Bird Sketches.

As editor

  • Tunnicliffe, Charles (1981). Sketches of Bird Life. Gollancz. ISBN 0-575-03036-4.

As art editor

  • The Birds of the Western Palaearctic, nine volumes, 1977–1994[1]
  • Birds of Berkshire, 1996[1]

As illustrator


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Robert returns to his roots". Henley Standard. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  2. ^ Avery, Mark (10 October 2011). "Top scientist slams government". Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Independent journalist wins RSPB medal". Birdwatch. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  4. ^ " ". Springwatch. Season 2018. Episode 5. 4 June 2018. BBC Television. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Robert Gillmor: Retrospective". Reading Museum. 10 October 2011. Archived from the original on 22 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.

External links

Abd al-Kuri sparrow

The Abd al-Kuri sparrow (Passer hemileucus) is a passerine bird endemic to the small island of Abd al Kuri (also spelled several other ways) in the Socotra archipelago of the Indian Ocean, off the Horn of Africa. Though this species was originally described as a distinct species, it was considered conspecific with the Socotra sparrow. A study by Guy Kirwan showed significant differences from the Socotra sparrow, and that the two sparrows might even have different origins. On the evidence that it is morphologically distinct, BirdLife International (and hence the IUCN Red List) recognised it as a species, and it was listed in the IOC World Bird List from December 2009. It has a very restricted distribution, and a population of under 1,000 individuals, so despite not having any known threats it is considered a Vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List.

Charles Tunnicliffe

Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, OBE, RA (1 December 1901 – 7 February 1979) was an internationally renowned naturalistic painter of British birds and other wildlife. He spent most of his working life on the Isle of Anglesey.

Chris Perrins

Christopher Miles Perrins, (born 11 May 1935) is Emeritus Fellow of the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology at the University of Oxford, Emeritus Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford and Her Majesty's Warden of the Swans since 1993.

Dead Sea sparrow

The Dead Sea sparrow (Passer moabiticus) is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, with one subspecies breeding in parts of the Middle East and another in western Afghanistan and eastern Iran. The eastern subspecies P. m. yatii is sometimes considered a separate species known as Yate's sparrow.

Dilys Breese Medal

The Dilys Breese Medal is a medal awarded by the British Trust for Ornithology to recognise communicators who help to deliver ornithological science to new audiences. It is named in memory of film maker Dilys Breese, who died in 2007, and was inaugurated in 2009, funded by a bequest from Breese. The medal features a design by Robert Gillmor, showing a robin in front of a TV screen.The inaugural awards were made in November 2009, to six recipients at a ceremony at the House of Lords.

Great sparrow

The great sparrow (Passer motitensis), also known as the southern rufous sparrow, is found in southern Africa in dry, wooded savannah and towns.This is a 15–16 cm long sparrow superficially like a large house sparrow. It has a grey crown and rear neck and rufous upperparts.While in the past some authorities considered this species and several related species of 'rufous sparrow' on the African mainland to be the same as the Iago sparrow of Cape Verde, they do not appear to be so closely related as thought. A few currently recognise only some of the rufous sparrows as separate from the great sparrow, but the Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International recognise the Socotra sparrow, Kenya sparrow, Kordofan sparrow, and Shelley's sparrow as separate species.


The herons are long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, with 64 recognised species, some of which are referred to as egrets or bitterns rather than herons. Members of the genera Botaurus and Ixobrychus are referred to as bitterns, and, together with the zigzag heron, or zigzag bittern, in the monotypic genus Zebrilus, form a monophyletic group within the Ardeidae. Egrets are not a biologically distinct group from the herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white or have decorative plumes in breeding plumage. Herons, by evolutionary adaptation, have long beaks.

The classification of the individual heron/egret species is fraught with difficulty, and no clear consensus exists about the correct placement of many species into either of the two major genera, Ardea and Egretta. Similarly, the relationships of the genera in the family are not completely resolved. However, one species formerly considered to constitute a separate monotypic family, the Cochlearidae or the boat-billed heron, is now regarded as a member of the Ardeidae.

Although herons resemble birds in some other families, such as the storks, ibises, spoonbills, and cranes, they differ from these in flying with their necks retracted, not outstretched. They are also one of the bird groups that have powder down. Some members of this group nest colonially in trees, while others, notably the bitterns, use reed beds.

Kenya sparrow

The Kenya sparrow (Passer rufocinctus), also known as the Kenya rufous sparrow, is a sparrow found in Kenya and Tanzania. It tends to be found in dry wooded savannah and agricultural areas. Some authorities have lumped the great sparrow (P. motitensis), the Kenya sparrow, and the Socotra sparrow (P. insularis) into P. motitensis following Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993). Some authorities also lump Shelley's sparrow and the Kordofan sparrow with this species, or all three with the great sparrow.

Kordofan sparrow

The Kordofan sparrow (Passer cordofanicus), also known as the Kordofan rufous sparrow, is a sparrow found only in southwestern Sudan and adjacent border regions of South Sudan and Chad. It is frequently considered a subspecies of the Kenya sparrow, which in turn is considered a subspecies of the great sparrow.

List of wildlife artists

This list of wildlife artists is a list for any notable wildlife artist, wildlife painter, wildlife photographer, other wildlife artist, society of wildlife artists, museum, or exhibition of wildlife art, worldwide.

New Naturalist

The New Naturalist Library (also known as The New Naturalists) is a series of books published by Collins in the United Kingdom, on a variety of natural history topics relevant to the British Isles. The aim of the series at the start was: "To interest the general reader in the wild life of Britain by recapturing the inquiring spirit of the old naturalists." An editors' preface to a 1952 monograph says: "An object of the New Naturalist series is the recognition of the many-sidedness of British natural history, and the encouragement of unusual and original developments of its forgotten or neglected facets."The first volume to appear was E.B. Ford's Butterflies in 1945. The authors of this series are usually eminent experts, often professional scientists. This gives the series authority, and many are or have been authoritative introductory textbooks on a subject for some years. The books are written in scientific style, but are intended to be readable by the non-specialist, and are an early example of popular science in the media.

The books of the series have had considerable influence on many students who later became professional biologists, such as W.D. Hamilton and Mike Majerus. The latter was inspired by Ford's Butterflies and Moths, and has since added two volumes of his own to the series.

A parallel series known as the New Naturalist Monograph Library (and often referred to as The New Naturalist Special Volumes) was also published. Its aim was to cover "in greater detail... a single species or group of species". There have been no additions to the Monograph Library since 1971.

Volume 82 of the main series, The New Naturalists, described the series to date, with authors' biographies and a guide to collecting the books.

The original Editorial Board consisted of Julian Huxley, James Fisher, Dudley Stamp, John Gilmour and Eric Hosking. Until 1985, the highly characteristic dust jacket illustrations were by Rosemary and Clifford Ellis; since then they have been by Robert Gillmor.

Being a numbered series, with a very low print run for some volumes, the books are highly collectable. Second-hand copies of the rarer volumes, in good condition, can command high prices. The 100th volume, Woodlands by Oliver Rackham was published in 2006. Woodlands (volume 100) was also published in 2006 as a "leatherbound" edition, limited to 100 copies. In fact it was fake leather. The second "leatherbound" New Naturalist - Dragonflies by Philip Corbet and Stephen Brooks - was published in 2008. The (fake) leather edition of Dragonflies (volume 106) was initially limited to 400 copies, which was subsequently limited to 303, and finally to 250. According to the New Naturalist website only 217 were actually sold and the remaining unsold stock is being kept secure at HarperCollins's offices. HarperCollins continue to produce limited numbers of "leatherbound" editions of all volumes published since Dragonflies, but only from Islands (volume 109) was real leather actually used. All recent volumes have only 50 leatherbound copies.

The series won the 2007 British Book Design and Production Award for "brand or series identity", and in 2008 the official website was launched, with features including the latest news, a members only area with access to exclusive content and downloads, and a forum.

In around 1990, Bloomsbury produced a series of facsimile editions, as hardbacks with new dustjacket designs, and with all plates in black and white, including those which were originally in colour.

Plain-backed sparrow

The plain-backed sparrow (Passer flaveolus), also called the Pegu sparrow or olive-backed sparrow, is a sparrow found in Southeast Asia. Its range spans from Myanmar to central Vietnam, and south to the western part of Peninsular Malaysia.The phylogeny of the sparrows has been studied by Arnaiz-Villena et al. Nuclear mitochondrial DNA pseudogenes were found in these sparrows.

Robert Gilmore

Robert Gilmore is the name of:

Bob Gilmore (1961–2015), musicologist

Robert Gilmore of the band Pulley

Robert Gilmour

Robert Gilmour may refer to:

Sir Robert Gilmour, 1st Baronet

Robert Gilmour (footballer), Scottish footballer

Robert Gilmour (journalist), Scottish-New Zealander editor, newspaper proprietor and journalist

Shelley's sparrow

Shelley's sparrow (Passer shelleyi), also known as Shelley's rufous sparrow or the White Nile rufous sparrow, is a sparrow found in eastern Africa from South Sudan, southern Ethiopia, and north-western Somalia to northern Uganda and north-western Kenya. Formerly, it was considered as a subspecies of the Kenya sparrow. This species is named after English geologist and ornithologist George Ernest Shelley.

Society of Wildlife Artists

The Society of Wildlife Artists is a British organisation for artists who paint or draw wildlife. It was founded in 1964. Its founder President was Sir Peter Scott, the current President of the society is British artist Harriet Mead.

The society was founded by Eric Ennion and Robert Gillmor. Other founder members were Donald Watson, a former President of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club artist James T.A. Osborne a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, and artist Eileen Soper.

The Society holds an annual exhibition at the Federation of British Artists in the Mall Galleries, every September/ October.

Socotra sparrow

The Socotra sparrow (Passer insularis) is a passerine bird endemic to the islands of Socotra, Samhah, and Darsah in the Indian Ocean, off the Horn of Africa. The taxonomy of this species and its relatives is complex, with some authorities, including BirdLife International, recognising this species and the very similar Abd al-Kuri sparrow, as well as several from mainland Africa, as separate, and others lumping all these species and the probably unrelated Iago sparrow.


Sparrows are a family of small passerine birds. They are also known as true sparrows, or Old World sparrows, names also used for a particular genus of the family, Passer. They are distinct from both the American sparrows, in the family Passerellidae, and from a few other birds sharing their name, such as the Java sparrow of the family Estrildidae. Many species nest on buildings and the house and Eurasian tree sparrows, in particular, inhabit cities in large numbers, so sparrows are among the most familiar of all wild birds. They are primarily seed-eaters, though they also consume small insects. Some species scavenge for food around cities and, like gulls or rock doves will happily eat virtually anything in small quantities.

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