Pollyanna Pickering (1942 - 2018) was widely recognized as Europe's foremost wildlife artist, and the most published fine artist working in Britain during her lifetime. She won close to fifty international awards for her artwork, and in 2008 she received an honorary degree from the University of Derby in recognition of her achievements.
Pollyanna held the post of honorary patron of The Wildlife Art Society International. She was also a signature member of the Artists for Conservation Foundation and the Society of Feline Artists and the Association of Animal Artists and a full juried member of the New York based Society of Animal Artists. A familiar face on TV, the most recent documentary about her work Made in England was broadcast on BBC1.
Pollyanna was born in Yorkshire, and is pictured left making an early start on her career! She began her real art training at Rotherham Art School, where, in her first year she won the award for most promising student - and met her future husband, Ken Pickering, an industrial designer. She went on to study for a further three years at the London Central School of Art, graduating with distinction.
Pollyanna's original work was exhibited in top galleries internationally, including the Royal Academy. Her paintings hang in private and corporate collections world-wide from Siberia to Australia, and celebrity collectors of her work include John Hurt, Virginia Mckenna and David Bowie, while Sheik Mohammed has a specially commissioned series of paintings of his Ascot winners. Her work was presented to Princess Anne, and she was even commissioned to paint Her Majesty the Queens' favourite racing pigeon!
Her paintings will be familiar to most people from her extensive ranges of fine art prints and cards, many commissioned by charities including the WWF, Guide Dogs for the Blind and the RSPB. Her limited edition and fine art prints, books, ranges of greeting and Christmas cards and gift ware are sold throughout the UK and exported into over eighty countries world-wide. Pollyanna designed exclusive gift ware for Harrods, and painted postage stamps for several African Countries, and first day covers for the Royal Mail.
For fifteen 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, squirrels and other mammals, all of which feature in her work. This close contact with the creatures in her care is reflected in the realism and vitality of her work.
Pollyanna's determination to paint only animals which she had observed in their natural habitats lead her into a remarkable and unique series of expeditions into some of the most inhospitable areas of the globe. In 2007, Pollyanna was granted a fellowship from Canada based society Artists for Conservation Foundation in support of her landmark expedition into Bhutan. She was accompanied on her journeys by her daughter and business partner Anna-Louise who also writes the text and contributes the photography to their books. Click here for further information about the expeditions.
The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation raises funds for world-wide conservation, animal welfare and disaster relief. Anna-Louise is committed to continuing the work of the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation as President and co-founder. Pollyanna was steadfast in her support of other charities. She acted as patron of many organisations including The Born Free Foundation, The Badger Trust, Raptor Rescue, Naturewatch, the ABC Animal Sanctuary, the Gamelea Countryside Training Trust, Cats in Need, Parrotaid, and FABLE who raise funds for epilepsy sufferers. Pollyanna was a trustee of the Irish African/Asian Conservation Trust, and also held the post of International Vice President of Bill Jordan's Wildlife Defence Fund. Pollyanna acted as UK ambassador for the Australian organisation Wildlife Warriors, and the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Trust of Namibia. She held the official role of Conservation Partner to the Wildlife Conservation Division of the Department of Forests and Park Services of Bhutan.Within her local community she acted as Honorary president of the North Derbyshire RSPCA for many years, and was Honorary Life President of the Chesterfield Art Society, and an honorary member of Rotary International. She was a member of the Court of the University of Derby.
Pollyanna received numerous awards and accolades for her paintings, including the Silver Palette Trophy and the Millennium Trophy bestowed by the Wildlife Art Society International who also awarded her two Gold Medals. In 2004 she was awarded a coveted first prize in the Wildlife Artist of the Year Awards, and in 2007 won the first Wildscape Masterclass Challenge. In 2006 the Artists for Conservation Foundation honoured her with their prestigious Conservation Artist Award. In 2009 she was named Professional Wildlife Artist of the Year in the Society for All Artists Artist of the Year Awards. In 2011 she won the inaugural Environmental Concern Award in the Wildlife Artist of the Year Awards. In 2012 one of her paintings scooped first prize in the first annual Association of Animal Artists Awards In 2012 she was awarded the most prestigious International Award in the field of Wildlife Art - The Artists for Conservation's Simon Combes Conservation Award, recognizing support for conservation through artistic excellence. In 2015 she was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Inspirational Women Awards, and the following year given a second Lifetime Achievement Award by Peak FM, and in the same year was honoured with the Association of Animal Artist's inaugural chairman's Award. In 2017 she scooped the Gold Medal for Best Painting in their annual exhibition - and in 2018 received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Marquis Society in America in recognition of her remarkable work.
However in recent years she was also recognised for her remarkable accomplishments in both business and conservation. She was a finalist in the 2000 Business Woman of the Year Awards, and was awarded the Freedom of Bolsover and District in recognition of her charitable work in the area. In 2003 her name appeared in a list of the ten Greatest East Midlanders as voted for by the public, the same year in which she received a commendation for her work in Arts and Media at the European Women of Achievement Awards. In 2004 she was the winner of the Hera award at the prestigious NatWest everywoman Awards which celebrate the achievements of women in business. In 2006 she was awarded the Department of Trade and Investment's Women in Business Achievement Award. In 2007 she was one of the first recipients of an Excellence in the Community award from Derbyshire County Council, in recognition of her ‘outstanding personal achievement’ which has helped to put Derbyshire on the map. In 2009 she was one of the three shortlisted finalists for the Women in Public Life Awards. and was named Entrepreneur of the Year in the inaugural The Derbyshire Times Business Awards.
In 2005 The International Fund for Animal Welfare named her Animal Conservation Fund-raiser of the Year, honouring her with an award at a special presentation at the House of Lords. In 2008 she she received an honorary degree from the University of Derby in recognition of her achievements.