John Seerey-Lester: The wildlife artist

John Seerey-Lester: The wildlife artist


Born in Manchester in 1945, John Seerey-Lester would become known as the godfather of wildlife art. His works hang in permanent museum collections across the world and in The White House. He has been featured at a multitude of major art wildlife shows across the globe, and in 1029 received the Society of Animal Artist Lifetime Achievement Award. An environmental campaigner, he was commended by Prince Phillip for his work in conservation. Seerey Lester’s paintings helped raise awareness of the need for conservation. He worked with a host of charities including The World Wildlife Fund, The Jane Goodhall Institute, and The Kenya Wildlife Fund, raising millions to help conserve the natural world.



Seerey Lester’s artistic career began in 1974.  Previously a journalist, editor, and local government press officer, he continued to write throughout his life, publishing seven books on wildlife and wildlife art.  Not on the savannah, but the streets of Manchester did he find his first inspiration. He is a master of narrative composition, this skill can be seen in his early works depicting imaginary Edwardian, street scenes and would remain a prevalent aspect of his craft right through to his final works.  Be it a polar bear standing to catch a scent, a pack of wolves taking their first tentative steps into a creek or a boot black kneeling to polish the shoes of a newspaper reading bourgeois, his paintings are motion caught in a moment, unconscious expression, and carefree gesture in oil. In movement, character emerges, and we are offered a window into the mystically rendered landscapes, to stand alongside the animals with which Seerey-Lester populates his canvases.


It was a trip to East Africa in 1980 that sparked John’s interest in the animal kingdom. Though Africa was a subject that remained with him through his life, it did not define output. He painted all over the world, up close with his subjects. He loved the great outdoors and preferred to paint from life, he was a founding member of Southern Plein-Air Artists. In the Mid 1990s John traveled to China and painted the giant panda in the wild at a time when their numbers were at a critically low ebb, it was thought that there were less than one thousand left in the wild. He traveled to the arctic circle to paint polar bears, and to Canada to paint timber wolves. By drawing from life, animals become characters, rendered with realism and respect.



John Seerey-Lester's artwork comes to Mallams - See more 

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