Born in Newcastle, William T Cooper spent his childhood in the bush and his early years as an apprentice taxidermist, later becoming a window dresser and landscape artist. However it is for his stunning illustrations of birds that he is most revered and James Cook University Library holds many of his publications across it’s various collections.
|Caption: View 1: A JCU library staff member viewing one of the beautiful colour plates created by William T Cooper in a volume of "Australian Parrots". Photo Credit: Bronwyn McBurnie|
|Caption: View 2: A JCU library staff member viewing one of the beautiful colour plates created by William T Cooper in a volume of "Australian Parrots". Photo Credit: Bronwyn McBurnie|
|Caption: Details of the bird images which appear on each volume of the two volume set titled "Australian Parrots" by Joseph Forshaw and William T Cooper. Photo Credit: Bronwyn McBurnie|
William T Cooper was an extraordinarily talented man who lived in our northern community and contributed significantly to our understanding and appreciation of nature and wildlife.
In 1992 the Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia USA, presented him with their gold medal for distinction in natural history art. He is the first and only Australian recipient in its 190 year history. Then in 1994, he was also awarded the Order of Australia (AO) for his contribution to art and natural history. James Cook University Library staff mourn the passing of William T Cooper and continue to celebrate his contribution through his many publications.
To learn more about William T Cooper, watch Birdman, the recent film by Sarah Scragg on his life and art. To learn more about bird illustration then seek out William T Cooper's recent publication titled, "Capturing the Essence: Techniques for Bird Artists".