Donald Grant (1930-2001)
The Falcon Hunt
Oil on canvas
30.3 x 40.2in (77 x 102 cm)
Donald Grant was born in North Shields, Northumberland in 1930. The talent of this British artist was apparent from an early age. He sold his first painting when he was nine years old to his family doctor. While still a schoolboy, Grant also painted a large mural in a public building and won a national drawing and design competition in the same year.
This unique work by Donald Grant is one of only three paintings depicting Arab subjects. The life of the Bedouin tribe with peregrine falcons and saluki dogs is a national past time and the saluki is the only revered and respected dog in the Arab world, bred directly from the Pharaoh dynasty. Originally the gazelle would be the prey with two or three dogs and a falcon to sight and run down the quarry, originally providing food for the Bedouin tribe; also great bustards (the world heaviest bird) would be the ideal quarries. Today the royal sport of falconry is part of the Arab tradition and heritage. The painting “The Falcon Hunt” serves to illustrate some of the finer qualities produced by this distinguished artist, with camels in the background he has captured the subject to perfection, with his intense approach to the subject and the support of a rich background of experiences, he captures on canvas those vital moments of time. Donald Grant found in this experience and atmosphere of serenity, which resulted in some superb paintings, against majestic splendor of massed clouds. In 1960 one of his various paintings was accepted by the Royal Academy and sold.
Continuing to paint at every opportunity, Grant followed a varied career, which began with the discipline of a long apprenticeship as a shipbuilding draftsman and continued with Army service in Africa. He also worked as a technical illustrator, a graphic designer and a free-lance advertising artist. His masterful interpretation of wildlife subjects made Grant an artist of stature respected worldwide. His paintings have been internationally exhibited and collected since 1970. His technical perfection and ability to capture the look and feel of the African wilderness and the wildlife it supports were capabilities that could only be acquired through a love of Africa, best described by his own words: “Here in this magnificent setting, which we should all do our utmost to protect, the finely balanced day-to-day drama of survival unfolds.”
Grant’s original paintings and limited edition prints, first published by Mill Pond Press in 1988, are infused with dramatic light and charged with atmosphere. His subjects, with poses so characteristic of the species they represent, reveal the hand of a masterful artist; one who possessed a unique understanding of and genuine concern for the earth’s endangered wildlife.
Donald Grant and David Shepherd are considered the most successful British painter of the twenty-century of national history; interestingly they were born within one year of each other.