World famous Matlock wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering dies aged 75

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Renowned Matlock wildlife artist, environmentalist and television personality Pollyanna Pickering died last week following a short illness.

Widely recognised as Europe’s foremost wildlife artist, and one of the most published British fine artists of her era, Pollyanna won more than 30 international awards in her lifetime.

Renowned Matlock wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering has died at the age of 75 following a short illness.

Renowned Matlock wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering has died at the age of 75 following a short illness.

Her daughter Anna-Louise Pickering said: “Pollyanna was passionate about wildlife and equally passionate about accurately interpreting her subjects through her artwork. To the very end she was a champion of environmental conservation, both on the national and international stage, and an indefatigable campaigner for the welfare of endangered, sick and vulnerable creatures.

“She reached the pinnacle of success in her chosen field while achieving international respect for her unwavering commitment. I will be proud to continue the work of the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation.”

She added: “But, despite her incredible success in her chosen vocation, ultimately Pollyanna will be remembered by me, her family, and her friends as warm-hearted, generous and kind, as a loving and much-loved mum, and for her uniquely humorous take on life.

“Her artwork will stand alongside her conservation work as a continuing inspiration and her lasting legacy.”

Born in Yorkshire in 1942, Pollyanna began her training at Rotherham Art School, where she met her future husband Ken, before going on to the London Central School of Art, graduating with distinction.

Her work has been exhibited in top galleries internationally, including the Royal Academy, and purchased for private and corporate collections as far afield as Siberia and Australia.

She was commissioned to paint the Queen’s favourite racing pigeon, UAE prime minister Sheik Mohammed’s Ascot-winning racehorses, and also counted John Hurt, Virginia McKenna and David Bowie among her most famous collectors.

Her work will be familiar to many people through her prints and cards, many commissioned by charities such as the WWF, Guide Dogs for the Blind and the RSPB.

A committed conservationist, Pollyanna painted from close observation of wildlife in its natural habitats, leading her to undertake expeditions into some of the most inhospitable areas of the globe, often with Anna-Louise.

For 15 years, Pollyanna ran a registered hospital for birds of prey from her home. Caring mainly for injured and orphaned raptors, she also rehabilitated foxes, hedgehogs, and squirrels and this close contact and care was reflected in the realism of her work.

She established the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation, which raised funds for worldwide conservation, animal welfare and disaster relief, and her efforts earned more prestigious awards and produced life-changing results.

Pollyanna also became a regular face on television art and wildlife programmes, and was the subject of a BBC documentary.

Since Pollyanna’s family announced the news of her death on Saturday, April 7, thousands of tributes have been left on her official Facebook page.

A memorial service will be held in Sheffield on Wednesday, April 18.

To learn more about her life and work, or make a memorial donation to the foundation, visit https://goo.gl/8xenQu.