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George Lodge aka George Edward Lodge (3 December 1860 – 5 February 1954) was a British illustrator of birds and an authority on falconry. Read More
George Edward Lodge was born at Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire. His father, Samuel Lodge (1829–1897), was a Canon of Lincoln Cathedral and rector of Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire. G E Lodge was the seventh child and fifth son of Samuel Lodge’s eleven children. His brother is the famous photographer Reginald Badham Lodge.
He was educated at home, and became an accomplished taxidermist. He travelled abroad in search of birds and sport, visiting Norway, Sweden, the West Indies and the United States. He was, however, most at home in the Scottish Highlands.
He attended Lincoln School of Artand studied and worked in Londonbefore moving in later life to Camberley, Surrey.
One of the earliest works for which he made illustrations was Lord Lilford’s Birds of Northamptonshire, in conjunction with Archibald Thorburn, whose skill as a bird-artist Lodge greatly admired. This admiration was returned as in the early part of 1910, Thorburn was approached by a representative of the New Zealand Government regarding a commission to provide plates for a proposed book of New Zealand native birds. Archibald Thorburn recommended Lodge for the commission and in 1913 Lodge began work. He studied bird skin specimens from a number of different collections in Britain including the Natural History Museum and eventually supplied 90 plates to the Wildlife Service of the Department of Internal Affairs of New Zealand. Due to the illness of the author the proposed book was never finished and the plates remained with the Department of Internal Affairs until they were transferred to the Dominion Museum in 1948. In 1983 the remaining89 plates were eventually published in the book George Edward Lodge: The Unpublished New Zealand Bird Paintings with text by C.A. Fleming.
George Lodge was also an expert at woodcuts, in which craft he contributed to books by Henry Seebohm and Badminton Library. His illustrations appeared in Beebe’s Monograph of the Pheasants and Eliot Howard’s Introduction to Bird Behaviour (1929).
G.E. Lodge published his only book, Memoirs of an Artist Naturalist in 1946, illustrating it with his own pictures. One of his last acts, shortly before his eyesight became impaired, was to institute a trust fund for the publication of original works in natural history: the first publication was The Birds of the British Isles by Dr David Bannerman, for which Lodge painted 377 illustrations depicting 435 species.
Lodge took an active part in the conservation of wild life. He served for many years on the executive council of the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves, and was also an active member of the International Committee for Bird Protection. In 1945 he was elected Vice-President of the British Ornithologists’ Union, the first artist to be so honoured.
George Lodge died in hospital on 5 February 1954 at Frimley, Surrey and his ashes were interred in the same churchyard as his parents’ grave at St Benedict’s, Horncastle, Lincolnshire.
The author of his obituary in The Times wrote:
A man of most exceptional charm and distinction, [Lodge] was recognized on both sides of the Atlantic as one of the finest bird-artists this country has ever produced. His wide experience in falconry doubtless gave him special knowledge of the hawk family, for he was a keen falconer from his earliest days. In the painting of birds of prey he had no rival in any country. He was primarily an artist but, being a good naturalist as well, he was able to depict his subjects among their natural surroundings and to make them look alive.
An exhibition of Lodge’s work, to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, was held at Nature in Art, Gloucester, from 30 March–9 May 2010.