Ralph Thompson is one of the greats of wildlife art in the 20th century. He was born in Yorkshire and, after training in Leeds and London, became an acclaimed wild animal artist who had had many successful exhibitions in England, New York and South Africa.
He travelled widely in Africa and India, specializing in pen and ink drawings of animals. His artistic career continued after the Second World War and ultimately spanned seven decades.
During the period 1954 to 1964 he carried out book illustrations for Gerald Durrell who had a zoo in Jersey. Ralph visited the zoo many times to sketch the animals – Gerald said of him ‘Many of things he had drawn were so accurate that he might well have been with me in Africa, peering over my shoulder at the things I saw.’
Ralph Thompson was the author of several books on animal illustrations, as well as stories for children. He was always searching to improve his technique and the art of his painting.
His special affinity with animals and unique capture of their personality gives his work an enduring appeal. His work continues to command a substantial price at auction and is highly sought after. Ralph Thompson died in 2009.