Artist in his studio

Artist in his studio in front of his oil painting ‘Grouse Wall’

Biography / Awards / Public Collections / Open Exhibitions / Memberships / Publications / Bibliography / Talks / Solo Exhibitions / Exhibitions


Born in Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, Jonathan Sainsbury grew up with close links to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.  He studied for a Pre-Diploma at Leamington Spa College of Art, followed by the Byam Shaw School of Art, before working in the Paint Shop of the Theatre and visiting Japan with the Company.

Jonathan Sainsbury, 'Bird Man', Leeds College of Art, 'Northern Young Contemporaries'

Jonathan Sainsbury as ‘Bird Man’, degree show, Leeds College of Art, 1976


Jonathan read Fine Art at Leeds College of Art, graduating in 1976 with a show that included an experimental ‘man-powered flying suit’, featured in Young Northern Contemporaries Exhibition, 1976.

Jonathan returned to Warwickshire and began painting landscapes, often featuring game and wildlife he observed from life, encountered on walks with his springer spaniels. 

Blackgrouse in snow, watercolour, 7 x 10 inches, signed and dated 2001, Jonathan Sainsbury, Loch Earn

Blackgrouse in Snow, by Loch Earn, watercolour, 7 x 10 ins

William Marler of the William Marler Gallery, Cirencester, recognised the quality of his work and for many years hosted sell-out one-man shows, which attracted critical acclaim from the late Aylmer Tryon, founder of the Tryon Gallery and brought Jonathan to the attention of the Modern British Department atChristie’s, London.  Harriet Drummond of Christie’s praised Jonathan’s field work and recommended him as one of just a handful of contemporary wildlife artists with long-term collector’s value


Lewis's Silver Pheasant, male and female, oil, 28 x 28 ins

Lewis’s Silver Pheasant, male and female, oil, 28 x 28 ins

 Jonathan travelled in the Far East where he studied rare pheasants in their natural habitats, aided by the World Pheasant Association.  He saw in the wild Lewis’ silver pheasants, thought at the time to be on the point of extinction.

Jonathan moved to North Devon in the mid-eighties, then to Perthshire, Scotland at the end of the decade.  


When the William Marler Gallery closed in the early nineties, Jonathan began to stage one-man exhibitions in country houses.  The first was at Scone Palace, Perthshire, in 1993, followed by Kissing Tree House and Foxcote in Warwickshire in 1994 and from 2003 – 2008 at the Long Room at Purdey, Gunmakers, London.

'Forgiven Fruits', mistle thrushes and hen pheasant, oil, 25 x 35 ins, £6,800

‘Forgiven Fruits’, mistle thrushes and hen pheasant, oil, 25 x 35 ins, £6,800

As his work matured, Jonathan successfully submitted it to public exhibitions: those with birds, wildlife or conservation themes and mainstream contemporary art shows.





Pied Turkeys, watercolour and charcoal, 34 inches square

Jonathan Sainsbury Pied Turkesy Square Watercolour and charcoal, 34 inches square

With wildlife and landscape as his subject-matter, Jonathan was aware that wildlife photography and film-making was posing a challenge to artists.  He saw that artists had to use the unique aspects of picture-making such as design, drawing, skill in handling paint, to say what only art could say.  This led to his highly-successful Square Series, which won critical acclaim world-wide.

Jonathan was elected a Signature Member of the Society of Animal Artists in the United States and a Signature Member of the Artists’ Foundation for Conservation and regularly hangs with those groups as well as in the Society of Wildlife Artists exhibition in London.  His work is recognised within Contemporary Scottish art circles where he has exhibited with the Royal Scottish Watercolour Society, the Aberdeen Artists’ Society and the Royal Glasgow Institute.

Wren's Larder - Oak Branch with Wren

Wren’s Larder -Oak Branch with wren
Watercolour and charcoal – 30 x 46 inches
Purchased for the permanent collection, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wisconsin

Jonathan exhibits in a number of contemporary galleries in Scotland and England, including the Brian Sinfield Gallery, Burford; Frames Gallery, Perth;  Strathearn Gallery, Crieff; Wykeham Gallery, Stockbridge and Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset.  He has exhibited at the CLA Game Fair for years as a member of the Redspot group and at the Scottish Game Fair. He participates in Perthshire Open Studios.

Jonathan Sainsbury Ark display

Jonathan Sainsbury sketch for Ark installation

In 2016, Jonathan created an installation, which he entitled ‘My Ark for Nature’.  This combines painting on a theme of conservation, live demonstration and multi-media displays.  He built a 6 metre by 3 metre timber stand, looking both like a shed and an ark.  He incorporated blank paper panels, on which he drew, in charcoal, during exhibition, using sepia watercolours of British endangered wildlife and habitats which he had prepared beforehand.  Around these framed sketches he clustered complementary finished works, so for example, around a Highland landscape, featuring a Scots pine and wildcat, he hung paintings of cross-bills, crested tits, red squirrels.

Bird boxes - film - songbirds - Jonathan Sainsbury

Bird boxes holding film of songbirds hung alongside pictures: a collaboration with the charity Songbird Survival

Bird boxes hung alongside paintings, showing clips of film of songbirds, provided by the Songbird Survival Trust, whose membership literature was displayed.  Likewise, literature from the British Dragonfly Society decorated the stand along with Jonathan’s own limited edition postcards.  Shelves displayed the working materials from an artist’s studio – primary sources like feathers, lichens, skins – books, poems, as well as brushes, pigments, tools.  The stand was displayed first at the BBC Countryfile Live Event 2016 at Blenheim, where hundreds visited, then in Perthshire Open Studios, in St Serf’s church, Comrie, where 200 visitors came over five days, including pupils from Comrie primary school.  

In June 2017, ‘My Ark for Nature’ will be displayed in the Lady Chapel at the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Cathedral in Inverness and open to visitors.

Jonathan’s work is displayed in national publications like Country Life and The Field as well as in sporting magazines.   His work hangs in public and private collections world-wide.

Jonathan lives in Perthshire,  working in a pine-lined studio with a corrugated iron roof.


Maude Gemmell Hutchison Prize, Scottish Royal Academy 1994
British Association for Shooting and Conservation 1992

Public Collections

Wren's Larder - Oak Branch with Wren

Wren’s Larder -Oak Branch with wren
Watercolour and charcoal – 30 x 46 inches
Purchased for the permanent collection, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wisconsin

Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
Nature in Art Museum, Gloucester (loan)
Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire
Crieff Hydro Hotel, Perthshire


Open Exhibitions

Society of Animal Artists, annual exhibition, USA   2017-2010
Artists for Conservation, annual exhibition, Vancouver   2015-12
Aberdeen Artists’ Exhibition   2013-2010
Royal Scottish Society of Watercolours   2012, 2010-2009

Nest box, Jonathan Sainsbury, studio, apple tree

Nest box in apple tree outside studio

Royal Glasgow Institute Open Exhibition   2009
Society of Wildlife Artists, London   2013-2009, 2002, 1991
‘Birds in Art’, Woodson Art Museum, Wisconsin, USA   2016, 2012, 2009, 1997, 1995-1994
Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada   1999-1998
Scottish Royal Academy   1994
Sunday Times/Singer & Friedlander Watercolour Exhibition, London   1990
Young Northern Contemporaries, Manchester   1976

Bitterns and Water-Voles Square, watercolour and charcoal, 28 x 28 ins

Bitterns and Water-Voles Square, watercolour and charcoal, 28 x 28 ins

Juried Membership of Art Societies

Artists for Conservation   since 2012
Signature Member, Society of Animal Artists, USA    since 2009


Birds of Clackmannanshire  2013
Deer – Artists’ Impressions  Quiller Books  2013
Square Paintings  Jonathan Sainsbury Limited Edition  2011
The Grouse – Artists’ Impressions  Swan Hill  2007
The Woodcock – Artists’ Impressions  Swan Hill 2006
The Artists’ Game Book  2006
The Fife Bird Atlas 2003
British Country Year Book   1993

'Gossip' - Black Hens, charcoal, Jonathan Sainsbury, late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, Sotheby's

‘Gossip’ – Black Hens, charcoal, 21 x 29 ins, formerly in the collection of the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.
Sold at Sotheby’s 2015 for £2,750.

Other publications include limited edition Christmas cards for Countryside Alliance, Purdey, Jonathan Sainsbury Fine Artist; colour plates for calendar for The Croft School, Stratford-upon-Avon
Limited Edition prints published by Jonathan Sainsbury Fine Artist; also by The William Marler Gallery, Kemblewood Gallery, Loquens Gallery.





Living Perth and Kinross  Spring 2017
The Field, October 2015  Opening Shots  Sporting Artist
The Scottish Field, May   2014
Strathearn Herald   May 2013
The Shooting Gazette   2008   To read article see links:  JULY SHOOTING GAZETTE P.56-57   JULY SHOOTING GAZETTE P.58-59
The Scottish Sporting Gazette   2007
The Sporting Shooter   2006
The Scottish Field, May   2000
The Courier   October 1999
North Devon Journal   October 1997
Western Morning News   March 1996
The Shooting Times   December 1994

 Jonathan Sainsbury watercolour plums and peacock butterflies, series 'British trees and wildlife', Society of Animal Artists, 'Art and the Animal' Annual Exhibition, Houston Museum of Natural Sciences

‘Plums and peacocks’ – watercolour – 21 x 29 inches, exhibited in the Society of Animal Artists Annual Exhibition, 2016, at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences. One in a series ‘British Trees and wildlife’

Strathearn Herald   December 1993
Milwaukee Herald   October 1994
The Courier   October 1992
The Shooting Gazette   Feb/March 1991
The Courier   May 1990
The Scottish Field, May   1990


Perthshire Open Studios, St Serf’s Church, Comrie   2013, 2010
Strathearn Arts Society   2013, 2004-2002
Scottish Women’s Rural Institute, 2016, 2015
Burton Art Gallery, Bideford, Devon   1997
Scottish Royal Academy Friends   1994
Nature in Art, Gloucester   1994

Solo Exhibitions

Jonathan Sainsbury, watercolour, Findoglen bridge, fox,

Fox crossing the Findoglen Bridge, watercolour, 7 x 10 ins

Perthshire Open Studios – Inglewood House 2015-14
St Serf’s Church, Comrie – Perthshire Open Studios   2016, 2013
Frames Gallery, Perth   2012
St Serf’s Church, Comrie – ‘Creation’   2010
Dunkeld Cathedral Art Exhibition ‘Invited artist’   2008
The Long Room, Purdey, London   2008-2005, 2003

Alveston Pastures, Warwickshire   2003
Scone Palace, Perthshire   1999,1993
‘Man’s Dominion’, Burton Art Gallery, Bideford, Devon   1997
Foxcote House, Warwickshire   1994
Kissing Tree House, Warwickshire   1994
William Marler Gallery, Cirencester   1991 – mid 1980s


‘Bumbarrels’ – long-tailed tits – Oil on nine panels – 32 x 32 ins – 81 x 81 cm

Sculpture by the Lakes, Dorset 2015
Wykeham Gallery, Stockbridge, Hampshire 2016, 2014-2012, 2010, 2002
Scottish Arts and Antique Centre, Abernyte, Perthshire  2014
Frames Gallery, Christmas Exhibition   2013–2009
Dunkeld Cathedral Art Exhibition   2013-2002, 1993
Redspot Artists at CLA Game Fair   2014, 2013, 2009-2008, 2006, 2004-2002
Scottish Game Fair   2015-2014, 2008-2007, 2002, 1998
Game & Wildlife Conservancy Trust Scottish Auction   2013-1999
The Strathearn Gallery, Crieff   2011, 2009
Redspot Exhibition, House of Bruar   2007
Anthony Woodd Gallery, Edinburgh   2009-1993
Whitehouse Gallery, Kirkcudbright   2007, 2004

Jonathan Sainsbury, long-tailed tits, charcoal drawing,

Long-tailed tits, charcoal

Arndean Gallery, Cork Street, London   2006
Exhibitions in aid of DebRA   2006
Warwickshire Artists, Ettington   2005
Edinburgh Zoo Exhibition   2003
Malcolm Innes, the Tryon Gallery, London   2003-1999
Galerie Marin, Appledore, North Devon   2002-1999
Game Conservancy Ball Exhibition, London   2002-2001
Berkshire Shooting School   2001
McEwan Gallery, Ballatur Summer Exhibiton   1999, 1997-1993
Haddo Hall Exhibition, Aberdeenshire   1997, 1993
Christie’s Preview, Wildlife Auction, National History Museum, London   1996
‘A brush with nature’, Wildlife and Wetlands Trust, Painswick House, Gloucs   1995
Albany Gallery, Swansea   1993
Nature in Art, Gloucester   1992
Wildlife Art Festival, Chambord, France   1992
‘Whaletail’, Nairobi, Kenya   1991