Keith, painter of landscapes and animals and distant relative of the polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, is 91 years old today.
What you possibly didn't know about Keith, that he :
* was born in Weybridge, Surrey in 1923 and began his travels as a boy when his family moved to Australia and returned after five years when he continued his education at the independent Oundle School for boys in the 1930s, where he was trained in ornithology by the same Headmaster who had trained Peter Scott before him.
* was 18 years old in 1941 during the Second World War, served in the Royal Air Force in Europe and the Far East and painted war scenes with the Army and Naval Coastal Forces.
* after the War, worked in the family aviation business as salesman and pilot for 15 years, painting in his spare time and in the early 1950's had two books of paintings, drawings and essays published called 'Tidelines and Wake', concerned with small boat sailing, a sport in which he represented Britain, won international dinghy events and four times crewed the winning boat in the Prince of Wales' Cup for International Fourteens.
* took up painting full time in the 1960s, was a presenter on the BBC Children's tv programme 'Animal Magic' with Johnny Morris (right) and of the ITV series, 'Animals in Action' and in 1980 sketched the biggest tail in the world : http://www.wildfilmhistory.org/film/292/clip/807/Sketching+the+biggest+tail+in+the+world.html
* was a friend Peter Scott, son of Captain Scott of the fated 1912 Antarctic Expedition who was a conservationist and fellow painter with whom he visited Antarctica and supported in his mission to support its pristine environment against mining interests.
* worked extensively as naturalist and boatsman in the 'Lindblad Explorer' and 'Polaris' and other vessels, in the Antarctic, Arctic, Amazon, and far scattered islands of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and carried out field work and film commentary assignments in the Himalayas, Andes and throughout Africa.
* in 2001, produced his book, 'Ship in the Wilderness: Voyages of the Linblad Explorer through the Last Wild Places on Earth', recording his 15 year voyages.
* has said : "A good landscape painting is not just a demonstration of competent application of paint. It must offer a feeling of homage to the subject. "
" I would warn very sincerely against the pitfalls of copying photographs. A frozen, split-second bears little relationship to the continuing process of living reality. It is better to look, look again, and keep on looking."
* at the age of 89 was appointed an Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours for 'services to the conservation of wildlife'.