Robert Gillmor

Robert Gillmor (born Reading, Berkshire, 1936) is an ornithologist, artist, illustrator, author and editor, from England. He is a founder member of the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) and has been its secretary, chairman and president. He has contributed to over 100 books, and in 2001 was a recipient of the RSPB Medal.[1][2][3]

Robert Gillmor
Gillmor in March 2010, during a week as artist in residence at Nature in Art, standing in front of a limited-edition linocut of his cover art for Birds New to Norfolk, depicting a red-breasted nuthatch.
Born1936 (age 8283)
Reading, Berkshire, England
OccupationArtist and illustrator
Notable work
New Naturalist book jackets since 1985.
AwardsRSPB Medal

Early life

Gillmor was educated at Leighton Park School, Reading and the School of Fine Art at Reading University. He was just 16 when his illustrations were first published, in the monthly magazine British Birds. When he was a student in the art department of Reading University, he illustrated his first book, A Study of Blackbirds. Gillmor taught art and craft at his old school for six years, Leighton Park in Reading before commencing a freelance career as a wildlife artist in 1965.

Later career

Gillmor's output has been enormous and in a variety of forms, line drawing watercolour, lino-cuts and silk screen. Since his first book in 1958, his work has since appeared in over 100 books.[1]

Moving from Reading to Cley next the Sea in Norfolk in 1998[1] proved an inspiring influence on his work. He resumed making lino-cuts. He is also a keen ornithologist, and has served on council for all three of the national organisations, RSPB, British Ornithologists' Union and the British Trust for Ornithology. He designed the first version of the RSPB's Avocet logo.[4]

He has illustrated the covers of the annual reports of the Berkshire Ornithological Club (previously Reading Ornithological Club) since 1950.[1] He is a long-standing member (and former president) of the Reading Guild of Artists.[1]


After founding the Society of Wildlife Artists with Eric Ennion in the early 1960s, Robert served as its secretary and chairman for many years. He was also elected president in 1984 and served for two five-year periods, he is currently a vice-president of the society. As well as working to promote current work, Robert has done much to promote work of past artists, including Charles Tunnicliffe, (editing three books) and his grandfather, Professor Allen W. Seaby (1867–1953), who instilled in him a love of printmaking.


In 2011, Gillmor completed lino-cuts for four sets of postage stamps for Royal Mail, with a further three sets (of six stamps each) to come in 2012.[1]

A retrospective of Gillmor's work was exhibited at Reading Museum from 23 October 2011 to 29 April 2012.[5]


  • (2006). Cutting Away: the linocuts of Robert Gillmor. Peterborough. ISBN 978-1-904078-14-2. Archived from the original on 1 November 2011.
  • (2011). Birds, Blocks and Stamps: Post & Go Birds of Britain. Reading: Two Rivers Press. ISBN 978-1-901677-79-9.
  • (2014). Robert Gilmor's Norfolk Bird Sketches.

As editor

  • Tunnicliffe, Charles (1981). Sketches of Bird Life. Gollancz. ISBN 0-575-03036-4.

As art editor

  • The Birds of the Western Palaearctic, nine volumes, 1977–1994[1]
  • Birds of Berkshire, 1996[1]

As illustrator


  1. "Robert returns to his roots". Henley Standard. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  2. Avery, Mark (10 October 2011). "Top scientist slams government". Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  3. "Independent journalist wins RSPB medal". Birdwatch. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  4. " ". Springwatch. Season 2018. Episode 5. 4 June 2018. BBC Television. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  5. "Robert Gillmor: Retrospective". Reading Museum. 10 October 2011. Archived from the original on 22 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
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