David Shepherd: Artist and Conservationist
In 1975, David Shepherd wrote The Man Who Loves Giants – an autobiography. Even though he was only forty-four, he had already achieved more than most could have in three lifetimes. In the intervening years, until his death in 2017, he painted a huge variety of subjects; founded the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation; renovated and restored everything from steam engines to dolls’ houses; and appeared on both radio and television.
‘Being the extrovert I am,’ he once said, ‘I like things large and exciting … especially elephants …’ However, this enthusiasm wasn’t restricted to animals; it extended to his love and ownership of several full-sized steam engines, including locomotive number 92203, otherwise known as Black Prince.
David’s friends ranged from showbiz celebrities to well-known sportsmen and women; and British and European royalty to internationally influential politicians and presidents. He was awarded the Order of the Golden Ark by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands for his services to conservation in Zambia, and the Order of Distinguished Service, First Class, by President Kaunda. Her Majesty The Queen presented David with the OBE and CBE.
David’s first gallery successes were not of the African wildlife for which he is now best known. London scenes, planes, boats and trains have long featured in his portfolio – as do English landscapes and bygone rural life.Since David’s autobiography, no book has dealt so comprehensively with his life, painting, and conservation work as this biography by J. C. Jeremy Hobson, professional author and David’s youngest son-in-law. With access to family archives and photographs, private diaries and reminiscences, this is a unique portrait of a remarkable man.
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