Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Ray Harris Ching dropped out of school at a young age and embarked on a career in advertising before becoming a full-time painter. His first exhibition in 1966 at John Leech Galleries in Auckland was a sell-out. The success of the exhibition drew wider attention and after moving to London, he was commissioned to produce a major book on all the birds of Britain. Published in 1969 and remaining in print today, The Reader’s Digest Book of British Birds includes 230 full-colour pictures and became the world’s biggest selling ornithological book. In 1999 Ching designed a British postage stamp, Darwin's theory, as part of a series on famous scientists and in 2012 he was commissioned by his friend Sir David Attenborough to produce illustrations for Attenborough’s book Drawn from Paradise. Ching’s wife, Carol Sinclair Smith, published a biography on the artist in 1990 titled Ray Harris-Ching: Journey of an Artist.


Ching’s extraordinary observation and exquisite technique have earned him a reputation as one of the very best wildlife artists of his generation. Solo exhibitions of his work were held at the Tryon Gallery in 1986, 1988, 1993, 1998, and 2007 and he is represented in important collections globally, including the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Wyoming.