Diaspora-Artists logo

Amazon Nights - Aubrey Williams

Brochure relating to an exhibition, 1994
Published by: Sotheran’s
Year published: 1994

image of Amazon Nights - Aubrey Williams

Henry Sotheran Limited, 2 - 5 Sackville Street, London W1X 2DP was the venue for Amazon Nights: An Exhibition of Oil Paintings of Endangered Birds from around the World by Aubrey Williams 1926 - 1990. The exhibition took place from 19 October to 12 November 1994. As the exhibition title indicated, the exhibition showcased Williams’ distinctive, but arguably lesser-known ornithological renderings.  The exhibition was refered to in the accompanying brochure as “the first opportunity for several years in London to buy into the artistic legacy of this sensitive and imaginative artist.”

The exhibition was advertised by way of a modest, but glossy and very useful brochure that featured reproductions, in minature, of six of Williams’ bird paintings, dating from the period of the late 1970s. Quetzal, Cock of the Rock, Roseate Spoonbill, Sun Bittern, Great Blue Turaco, Keel-billed Toucan, all work oil on canvas, 26 x 18” or 18 x 26”, depending on whether the bird in question was depicted in landscape or portrait format.

The brochure was six-sided and folded down into a slim, but substantial, notice for the exhibition. The text in the brochure consisted of a brief biographical outline and specific references to the bird paintings, including a quote from Williams: “It is my hope that these bird paintings be viewed as an artist’s visual rendition of how he feels about birds, throughout his life to the present… and not as an ornithological treatment as one would find in a field guide. Hence I have been less concerned with accurate anatomical rendition than how I feel about the birds I love. They are an attempt to share my continual wonder and awe in my contemplation of the Bird State.”

Despite Williams’ modesty, or declared lack of concern “with accurate anatomical rendition”, these are in actuality highly reliable and accurate representations that go further than perhaps more sterile renderings, to asign to the different birds a perhaps improbable sense of individual personality. In this sense, as Williams hoped, the bird paintings were indeed a reflection of how he felt about the birds he loved.

Related people

»  Aubrey Williams

Born, 1926 in Georgetown, Guyana. Died, 1990

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Sotheran’s of Sackville Street

London, United Kingdom