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David Shepherd.
Three Tuskers.
Richard David Shepherd CBE FRSAmarker (born 25 April 1931) is a Britishmarker artist and one of the world's most outspoken conservationists. He is most famous for his paintings of wildlife, although he also often paints steam railways, aircraft and landscapes. His work has been extremely popular since the 1960s in limited edition print reproduction and poster form, as well as other media such as Wedgwood limited edition plates. He has written five books about his art.

Life and work

David Shepherd was born in Hendonmarker, Londonmarker, Englandmarker.As a child he lived in Totteridgemarker, North Londonmarker and he won a children's painting competition in a magazine called Nursery World when he was eight years old. He then attended Stowe Schoolmarker in Buckinghamshire. Upon leaving school he travelled to Kenyamarker with the hope of becoming a game warden, but was rejected. He returned to the UKmarker but was rejected by the Slade School of Fine Artmarker in Londonmarker. However, he was taken in by the artist Robin Goodwin who trained him for 3 years.

Neal Brown said in frieze magazine: "David Shepherd is one of the most financially rewarded painters in the UK, but his critical status is less than negligible. Although considered the supreme master of Bad Art, Shepherd has brought pleasure to millions, as seen on the many table mats, posters and commemorative plates that bear his work." David Gower said, "There is a sense of the atmosphere of the African bush that emanates from all his work."


He became interested in conservation during an early expedition into the African bush, where he discovered a poisoned water hole with a large number of dead zebra. He has since become an outspoken world-known campaigner, and devotes much of his time to this. He is also a steam railway enthusiast, but said in a letter to the UK Railway Magazine, "you can always build another steam loco but you can't build another tiger." One of his best known paintings is called Tiger in The Sun, painted in 1977. He is also known for his paintings of elephants. He is the founder of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. He received an OBE dated 31 December 1979 "for services to the conservation of wildlife." He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours for services to charity and wildlife conservation.

Steam enthusiast

Shepherd owns a number of steam locomotives. His 9F "Black Prince" 92203 is based at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railwaymarker. In South Africa his 15F (#3052), presented to him by Spoornet in 1991, is stored at Sandstone Estates in Ficksburgmarker. It has carried various names, including "City of Germiston" and, more recently, his wife's name, "Avril". It was moved to Ficksburg in light steam from Pietermaritzburg by Friends of the Rail (a Pretoriamarker-based heritage steam association) in April 2003 and it steamed again in April 2006, when Friends of the Rail operated it for several trips between Ficksburg and Komandonek with David on board.

He also owns two Zambianmarker locomotives from the Mulobezi Railway, given to him by then President Kenneth Kaunda. One is still in the railway museum in Livingstone, Zambiamarker, the other located on the Sandstone Estates complex in South Africa. Shepherd donated the other, along with a coach, to the National Railway Museummarker in Yorkmarker in the UK, where it is in store awaiting restoration. All his African locomotives are British-built. He has also painted locomotives at Mulobezi.

Shepherd was involved in founding a heritage steam railway in the UK, the East Somerset Railway, where the signal box at Cranmore Station has become a small gallery displaying David's work. Shepherd is also President of the "Railway Ramblers"


Further reading

  • Describes house formerly owned by Shepherd and his modifications to it.
  • mentions "dedicated railway artists such as Terence Cuneo or David Shepherd"

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