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Lansdowne, James Fenwick RCA (b. Hong Kong August 8, 1937-d. July 27, 2008)

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James Fenwick Lansdowne, (Order of Canada, Order of BC) was a self-taught Canadian wildlife artist. Lansdowne was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Victoria, British Columbia. His first show was at the Royal Ontario Museum in 1956.

Lansdowne's detailed watercolours of birds are similar in style to the work of John James Audubon - often featuring a specific species against a largely white background - but his subjects tend to display a greater lifelike quality and more natural postures than Audubon's.

His work has been presented to members of the British Royal Family by the Government of Canada. In 1976, Lansdowne was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.[1] In 1995, he was awarded the Order of British Columbia. In 1974, he was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.


J. Fenwick Lansdowne was born in 1937 in Hong Kong. The only child of British parents, he moved with his fmaily to British Columbia three years later. His interest in birds began at the afe of fieve, and he first began to paint them in 1950. Lansdowne spent a year at the Provincial Museum in Victoria studying the anatomy of birds, but his education included no formal art training.

The artist's work first attracted national attention in the mid-fifties when an exhibition of 40 watercolours took place at the Royal Ontario Museum. Since then, his paintings have been shown internationally at major galleries and museums, including Audobon House in New York; Tryon Galleries in London, England and the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington. His work is also part of collections at major institutions in Canada including the McMichael Canadian Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Maltwood Art Museum in Victoria, British Columbia.

An introspective man of gentle nature, Fenwick Lansdowne also pursued writing and antique collecting.