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Young artists share their summer nature notebooks

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Talented young artists gathered at a prize-giving event at the Wilson Museum and Art Gallery in Cheltenham on Thursday evening (August 29) to share nature notebooks created over the summer holidays.

Inspired by the work of Edward Adrian Wilson, whose exquisite notebooks include illustrations of plants, birds, animals, fish and insects from the hills, and woods and streams around Cheltenham, the youngsters and their families came together  to showcase their drawings and paintings.

The notebooks were short-listed for prizes by Dr David Wilson, great-nephew of Edward Wilson, Susie Glover from the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and Ann-Rachael Harwood, curator of The Wilson Family Collection.

Speaking at the event, Dr Wilson said: “Edward Wilson was my grandpa’s brother, my great uncle, and as children they grew up on a rented farm on Leckhampton Hill.  It was there that they were taught to look at the wildlife, the flowers, the birds and animals that are around them.

“Uncle Ted used to sketch from the age of four to the day he died at the age of 39. He started just like you, making notebooks of things he saw all through his life, and changed the world and the way we see the world we live in; the conservation movement was founded out of his work and a lot of the things we worry about today, like climate change, he was working on over 100 years ago.

“It’s extraordinary what can come out of observing the world around you and starting to draw it, write about it and tell other people about it.  I think this competition has been a really wonderful thing, hopefully its encouraging you all to do the same thing. In 100 years’ time, maybe people will be talking about your notebooks.”

Susie Glover added: “It’s been a genuine a joy to look at all the different notebooks and see all the different things you have spotted across Gloucestershire and beyond, on your journeys over the summer holidays.”

The winners were:

Under 11 category: Phoebe Hirst
Under 16 category: Bethan Morgan
Family category: The Shone family
Adult category: Annabel Hirst

The notebooks are on display in the third floor gallery at The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum until Sunday September 1.

The Wilson holds a unique collection of watercolours and drawings made by Edward Wilson, who accompanied Scott on two Antarctic expeditions. Wilson was engaged as a naturalist and artist, but he was also a medical doctor, and the collections reflect all aspects of his life and training.   There are also significant archives relating to the ‘heroic age of Antarctic exploration’.

Find out more about the Antarctic and Wilson Family collection curated by the museum at

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