Former RSPB Officer Turned TV Wildlife Presenter
Iolo Williams was born in Builth Wells in 1962 and spent the first three months of his life in the village of Beulah. When his father got the job as headmaster of Eglwys Wen Primary School, the family moved to Pembrokeshire. They returned to Powys when Iolo was five and he grew up in Llanwddyn near Lake Vyrnwy. At the beginning of 1985, Iolo got a job with the RSPB and spent the next 14 years working for the organization. During this time, he became a regular on the media – on TV, radio and in newspapers – making a name for himself as a leading expert on Welsh birdlife. His big TV break came in 1997 when BBC Wales approached him to work on a new series called Visions of Snowdonia which followed the lives of six people living and working on the slopes of the country’s highest mountain. He was offered a second series – this time, Iolo was ‘Birdman’ and it’s a name that has stuck. Shortly afterwards, in 1999, Iolo decided to leave the RSPB and pursue a full-time career in the media. He has since filmed many more series with BBC Wales, including Wild Wales, Wild Winter, Iolo’s Special Reserves, Iolo’s Natural History of Wales and his 2005 series, Iolo’s Welsh Safari. He’s also presented programmes made by independent TV company Telesgop for S4C and is now a recognized author with books covering many environmental topics and birds. Iolo still lives in Powys – near the town of Newtown, not far from where he grew up. He is married and has two sons. In 2002 we were very proud to welcome Iolo to The Owls Trust as Honorary Patron.
Philip Snow BA
Wildlife/Landscape Painter & Illustrator
Philip’s illustrations or covers are now found in some 70 books [incl. several Collins Field Guides], many magazines [BBC Wildlife, Ocean World of Texas, Cheshire Life etc], original and reproduction prints [Rosenstiels, American Express, International New York, etc], cards, reserve maps [RSPB, CCW, NWWT etc] and leaflets etc, and several major national and private collections e.g. HRH Prince Charles, USAF Museum, Welsh Assembly, Nature in Art, and featured in the prestigious RA ‘British Art’ Show, in the Gulf States. In addition, he now both writes and illustrates his own books, like the celebrated ‘Light & Flight – Hebridean Wildlife & Landscape Sketchbook’, the challenging ‘Design & Origin of Birds’, or one of his latest, ‘Tall Tales from an Estuary’, whose illustrations feature in several exhibitions and prints. Appropriately, this is a somewhat quirky update of Charles Tunnicliffe’s popular ‘Shorelands Summer Diary’, documenting the busy everyday life of Malltraeth Estuary on Anglesey, where Philip also lives. He has now effectively placed the wildlife-rich estuary in its important global context, showing and illustrating its changing migration patterns and the effects of ‘climate change’, pollution, hunting etc – and all narrated by a bossy Heron!
Philip’s paintings, illustrations, prints & cards are regularly exhibited at Pensychnant Conservation Centre near Conway, and details of the many other exhibitions he is involved with can be found at his website, details below. A potted history of his work can be seen at the other HTTP Link, also detailed below.
His small estuary-side studio is also open, by appointment.
Sir Quentin Blake
We are thrilled to announce that, in January 2018, Sir Quentin Blake agreed to become a Patron of The Owls Trust
Sir Quentin Blake was born in 1932. After reading English at Downing College Cambridge, and further education at the London Institute of Education he attended life classes at Chelsea School of Art. Although he has no official art school qualifications he has always made his living as an illustrator, as well as teaching for twenty years at the Royal College of Art. He has illustrated over 300 books, including all the children’s books of Roald Dahl in a celebrated collaboration over forty years. He has worked extensively with other writers such as Michael Rosen, Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken and John Yeoman and has also illustrated his own stories and classics such as ¬Candide, and Don Quixote. In 2013 he received a Knighthood for services for illustration, and he is also a Chevalier of the Lègion d’Honneur.
His interest in owls began early in life when as a schoolboy he put together enough pocket money to buy a copy of Eric Hosking’s “Birds of the Night”. Recently he seized the opportunity to illustrate, in an English version by John Yeoman, Emmanuele Luzzati’s “Three Little Owls”.
During our time together with Sir Quentin Blake, and one of our owls “Woodii”, he promised a quote to simply explain why we are so privileged to be able to call him a Patron. He said this…….
“The shapes and behaviour of owls have always fascinated me, and they are always getting into my work, from Mr Magnolia who had some owls who were learning to hoot to oil paintings with figures and flying owls. It’s something very special to be asked to become a Patron of The Owls Trust; not only a privilege but full of interest.”