Pollyanna Pickering: A Tribute

The natural world lost one of its most passionate ambassadors when wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering died on March 30 this year.

In the course of her life the intrepid artist undertook many expeditions on every continent in her quest to paint wildlife she had observed in its natural habitat.

Nothing ever fazed her, whether it was being charged by elephants and tigers, finding scorpions in her camp bed or facing the challenge of sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic.

Together with her daughter and business partner Anna-Louise she saw such magnificent creatures as polar bears, giant pandas, wolves and gorillas.

Her beautiful paintings have been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people across the world including the Queen, the conservationist Virginia McKenna, the late actor John Hurt and even David Bowie. 

Her images are instantly recognisable and extend to greetings cards, notebooks, tea towels, craft kits and even tote bags.

However what was really inspiring about Pollyanna was that she used the fame and influence that she gained through the international success of her work to fight the environmental cause through The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation as well as being patron of more than 30 nature charities.

There have been so many remarkable achievements made via her work that it is hard to pick just one for special mention but Anna-Louise says that her mother was particularly proud of rescuing a moon bear from an illegal bile farm in Vietnam.

Today July 31 would have been Pollyanna’s 76th birthday so Anna-Louise felt it would be especially fitting to pay tribute to her mother this month and at the same time look to the future and the legacy she has left behind.

“Pollyanna was always looking forward and planning for the future. She wanted the work of her foundation to continue and she would have wanted her work to be seen by as many people as possible. She would not have wanted the paintings to remain in a darkened room,” said Anna-Louise with obvious emotion.

“We cancelled the Spirit of the Jaguar exhibition planned for June but it will be staged next year and there will be more exhibitions to follow. Pollyanna always planned three exhibitions ahead so there is a lot of her work still to be seen. 

“I also plan to sort out her fabulous archive of sketchbooks which I would love to put on display in an exhibition and I am discussing a commemorative range of cards with our publisher.”

Anna Louise explained that her mother suffered a very short illness of just three weeks before she died and had been painting up until she was taken to hospital.

She said that just a few weeks before the indefatigable duo had been on an expedition to Arizona trekking through the desert.

“She had so many plans and could never sit still – there was always something she wanted to be doing. 

“I miss her so much but I really am taking comfort in the fact that her work will live on. The one thing she told me in those last few days was that she had no regrets.

“And that is so true she had a wonderful life doing what she loved doing the most. In essence that doesn’t happen very often and she knew she was incredibly fortunate to have been able to earn a living from painting wildlife and at the same time influence changes which have made a difference to animal welfare and conservation.”

For details about the foundation and its work including the rescue of the moon bear and planned events and exhibitions go to http://www.pollyannapickering.co.uk

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