George Edward Lodge

(1860 - 1954)

Born in Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire, 3rd December 1860.

Died in Frimley, Surrey, 5th February 1954.

George Edward Lodge was born in Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire, the seventh of eleven children. His father, Samuel Lodge was the local rector and Canon of Lincoln Cathedral. He was educated at home before enrolling at the Lincoln School of Art and by his late teenage years he was a proficient taxidermist as well as an expert falconer.

His principle influence was the acclaimed bird painter Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935), an association which began in 1895, illustrating Lord Lilford’s Birds of Northamptonshire. In 1910, Thorburn was approached by the government of New Zealand to produce a book of national birds but deferred this important commission to Lodge. Lodge illustrated numerous publications over the following years including works by pre-eminent ornithologists Henry Seebohm (1832-1895), William Beebe (1877-1962) and Henry Howard (1873-1940). His own work, Memoirs of an Artist Naturalist, was published in 1946.

Lodge was a passionate and proactive conservationist, serving on the boards of both The Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves and the International Commission for Bird Protection. In 1945 he was the first artist to be elected vice-president of the British Ornithologists Union and set up a trust fund for the publication of natural history books.

He suffered from impaired vision in his latter years and died at Frimley in 1954. The Times obituary described him as ‘…a man of most exceptional charm and distinction, recognised on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the finest bird artists this country has ever produced…He was primarily an artist but, being a good naturalist as well, he was able to depict his subjects among their natural surroundings and to make them look alive.’

Examples of his work are held at the Zoological Society, London and the Natural History Museum, Tring. A retrospective of his work was held in Gloucester in 2010 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth.

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