Who’s Guy Taplin? Well, he was one of the finest 20th century observers of birds. His observations weren’t in the form of lists or photographs and he probably didn’t go around chasing rare species. He basically turned driftwood into birds.
I certainly hadn’t heard of him even though I love art and I love birds. It was only when a friend at work gave me his book as a Christmas 'Secret Santa' that he came to my attention. That was some SS, quite special.
His life story reads like a roller coaster. He left school at 15 and got sacked from most of his jobs. He destroyed over £2000 of stamps by pouring water into the stamp drawer when he worked at the Post Office. Feigned madness so well to get out of national service that he was put away in a mental home and so it went on. he got fired when working as a meat porter and when he dyed an Arab’s hair orange in a hairdressers. Then the 60’s happened.
He moved into belt design and did well for a while. He then gave this up to study Zen and fell into working as head of wildfowl in Regents Park. It was here that he started to carve birds. A small gallery in London exhibited his work and ended up selling it all. Now his work can be seen in the Tate Modern and on Michael Palin and Jackie Onassis’ mantlepieces.
His work is magical and full of such grace and style that even mother nature must admire his work from a far.