Lady Amherst Pheasant
Robert Bateman Hand Signed Limited Edition Print 23″ x 23″
Edition Size: 550
“We awoke to a frosty morning. Overnight a surprise snowfall had brought us a Christmas landscape. We were thrilled because the BBC film crew which Birgit and I had joined were about to visit the panda reserve to film during the winter season. There is something about snow that brings a touch of magic to a landscape. As we moved towards the foot of the rugged hills the rural road took us through Chiang villages which looked like a part of Bruegel’s “The Return of the Hunters.”
The Chinese authorities do not allow tourists to enter the actual panda reserve. Visitors are normally restricted to viewing the show piece pandas at the Wolong breeding station where we were staying. However, we were privileged to tag along with the film crew. I had seen pandas in Toronto and Washington zoos but to enter the world of the panda was very special for painting research.
The scene depicted here was part of the detailed bits of “ordinary” habitat which I think is so important for verisimilitude or true sense of place in a painting. The thin green “sticks” are actually slender bits of one of the species of small bamboo that form the diet of the panda.
I put the cock Lady Amherst Pheasant in the scene as a slightly startling exotic element in a seemingly Canadian scene. This is perhaps the most striking of all birds in plumage, including so many colours and patterns. Virtually all the dozen or so pheasant species originate in the hilly areas of China or nearby countries. I was not lucky enough to see this bird in the wild. Nor did we expect to see any pandas. The last one seen in the reserve that year had been six months earlier. They are there but they are elusive and sadly very rare.” Robert Bateman
(From the original painting Lady Amherst Pheasant – 2001 – 24″ x 24″ Acrylic on Board)