“My desire to paint wildlife, particularly birds, stems from a deep fascination and respect for the natural world and a wish to share my excitement for the subject through my paintings”
Born in Uganda in 1959, where he lived until he was 6 years old, Chris Rose soon developed what would become a life-long interest in the natural world.
His fascination joined forces with a passion for drawing and painting at an early age when he began to see the work of great wildlife painters, such as Archibald Thorburn, in books collected by his father. He was further inspired by the paintings that used to appear on the covers of the RSPB’s Birds magazine and so began to paint wildlife. When still a teenager he was introduced to the work of Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman at an exhibition at the Tryon Gallery in Cork Street. Bateman’s work “blew him out of the water” – it was unlike anything he had seen before and it set him on the path of painting wildlife within landscapes.
Chris Rose graduated from Nottingham University with a Biology degree but was unable to find work as a biologist. He was offered a one year contract as an illustrator for the Dorset Heritage Coast Project which convinced him that painting was the only thing he would ever want to do and so, with a second-hand drawing board, which he still uses today, Rose embarked on a career as a wildlife artist.
He has since become an award winning artist, specialising in paintings of wildlife, particularly birds, within the natural landscape. Recognised as one of the UK’s leading wildlife artists he has exhibited widely in the UK and overseas and has been a member of the prestigious Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) for over 30 years. Until recently he was secretary of the SWLA and previously served on the board of governors of the Federation of British Artists (FBA) at the Mall Galleries, London. He lives in the Scottish Borders.
His work appears in many books and he has been the subject of numerous magazine articles. A book of his paintings, In a Natural Light, was published in 2005 and was chosen as the Guardian newspaper’s ‘Natural History Book of the Year’. He has been the sole illustrator for many books including the recently completed Robins and Chats (Bloomsbury 2015), Swallows and Martins (Helm 1989) and Grebes of the World (Coleman 2003). He has had work in many other publications including the popular RSPB/AA Birds of Britain and Europe and the seminal work Handbook to the Birds of the World (Lynx Edicions 1992 – 2013). He is also a regular contributor of articles for The Artist magazine.
He has won several awards including the Arts Club Award, British Birds journal’s Bird Illustrator of the Year and was twice winner of Birdwatch magazine’s Wildlife Artist of the Year. In 2015 he won the Wildlife Trusts Undersea Art Award and appeared on the BBC’s Countryfile programme drawing underwater whilst scuba-diving. In 2018 his painting ‘Winter fox’ was a category winner in the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition.