The first biography of the distinguished ornithologist
George Miksch Sutton (1898–1982) is revered by bird lovers everywhere for his beautiful paintings. A Victorian gentleman, adventurer, and raconteur, he was trained in the sciences but felt equally at home in the arts.
Jerome Jackson, a friend and colleague of Sutton, draws on extant correspondence, interviews, and personal knowledge to offer a portrait of the artist that will surprise those who knew him only in his later years. Capturing a superb ornithologist who worked under the most inhospitable conditions, from the arctic to the tropics, Jackson shows us a person who guarded his privacy and struggled with uncertainty.
Jackson depicts a Renaissance man whose life was, more than a search for birds, a quest for knowledge through science and art in the service of humanity. Tracing Sutton’s roots through two generations, Jackson reveals what set him apart from other ornithologists and bird artists. Focusing on Sutton’s formative years—how he acquired his love of birds at an early age and how that love guided his life—Jackson then relates Sutton’s adventures in the Arctic, Mexico, Oklahoma, and elsewhere.
Jackson’s account fills in details missing from Sutton’s autobiography, Bird Student. Gracing the book are fifty reproductions of Sutton’s art—twenty-eight in full color—including early, unpublished, or obscure works along with non-avian subjects.