Pollyanna was very saddened to hear of the recent death of Magnus Magnusson. Best known for his 25 year reign as Mastermind’s formidable presenter, he was also a keen naturalist and a great bird lover.
He held the post of President of the RSPB from 1985 to 1990 and during that period co-ordinated and hosted many of the Society's major public events helping to usher in a period of major expansion in support for the RSPB.
Membership of the organisation passed the half million mark for the first time. It was through their mutual work with the RSPB that Pollyanna met Magnus – and she remembers him as a charming unassuming man, with a gentle sense of humour.
The RSPB commissioned Pollyanna to paint an original work to be presented to Magnus to celebrate their centenary year in 1989. Pollyanna chose to create a study of the gyr falcon – the beautiful white raptor which is native to Iceland, where Magnus was born.
Although he moved to Scotland as a baby, he was proud of his roots, keeping his Icelandic passport throughout his life. He also translated a variety of books from Icelandic and Old Norse into English.
“It was a great honour to be asked to create this painting for the chairman for the RSPB in commemoration of their centenary” Pollyanna commented. “And I will always remember making the presentation following a lecture given by Magnus in Sheffield as part of the centenary celebrations. He had no idea that the painting had been commissioned, and he was absolutely delighted to receive the study of the gyr falcons – one of his favourite birds. He will be greatly missed”.
The Study of a gyr falcon was published as a limited edition, which sold out within months of release.