An Eye for Nature

Hardback - March 2014 - AU $49.99

In this biography, Penny Olsen traces the path of Wiliam Cooper's life and beautiful art.

"The best ornithological illustrator alive" — David Attenborough + Full description

In the work of artist William T.Cooper, platypuses swim in green underwater worlds, waves throw up blankets of spray, embers glow in the aftermath of a bushfire, a Thylacine emerges from the shadows, sniffing the air. But it is his paintings of birds which set Cooper apart—his raucous cockatoos, colourful parrots, animated turacos and flamboyantly displaying birds of paradise. Often placed in meticulously studied landscapes, these intricate bird portraits reveal Cooper's close observation not only of his subjects' appearance, but their habits, poses and behaviour.

In this biography, Penny Olsen traces the path of Cooper's life and art—from his childhood spent in the bush, to his teenage years as an apprentice taxidermist at Carey Bay Zoo and, later, to his work as a window dresser and landscape artist. She documents his fruitful partnership with wife and collaborator Wendy Cooper and his extensive travels in Australia and abroad in pursuit of his subjects.

- Short description


Hardback | March 2014 | $ 49.99
ISBN: 9780642278463 | 288 pages
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Colour illustrations, Colour photographs


  • Extracts from Cooper’s extensive field notebooks give an insight into his interests and processes
  • Illustrated with photographs, paintings and sketches, and includes a portfolio of bird and landscape paintings that have never before been published