Terry Owen Matthews, Professional Hunter & Wildlife Sculpture Artist
Terry Owen Matthews, Professional Hunter & Wildlife Sculpture Artist
Wildlife sculptures in bronze, Buffalo with Egrets by Wildlife Artist Terry Owen Mathews
He was born in England in 1931, brought up in Uganda, and educated in Kenya and England. His life as a child in Uganda was enriched by his close association with his next door neighbour, Captain Charles Pitman, the renowned Chief Game Warden of that country. After he left school,which due to the war, and the lack of educational facilitities in Uganda was a mixture of schools in Uganda,Kenya and England. He too wanted to be a game warden, but when he applied to the Kenya Game Department after working for the Survey of Kenya it was decided that he was too young and married.
So in 1956 he joined Ker & Downey Safaris Ltd. as an apprentice under Syd Downey, completing his training in 1958. After working with them for some 11 years he left in 1967 to form with his wife Jean a company "MathewsSafaris" which is now run by his son Rick's widow Clair and her new husband Jared Crawford, with occasional help from his eldest son Glenn who was one of the last to get a professional hunters licence in Kenya, and who holds a Silver guides rating with the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Assocation, and Phil, his third son, fixed wing and helicopter pilot, who was cheif pilot for the Kenya Wildlife Service for many years, after flying for the Flying Doctors Service all over East Africa. His other two sons Denis and Lorne are both knowledgable Safari Guides though their primary occupation is Sculpture.Jean too has a guides rating as she has spent many years in the bush and was in fact born in Kenya, and accompanied him on many trips and had a reputation as the cateress on a number of Film Productions in addition to running the Safari Company.
Wildlife sculptures in bronze, With the Wind in his Sails by Wildlife Artist Terry Owen Mathews
Since 1968, when he lost the sight in his left eye in a shooting accident he concentrated more on what up until that time was his secondary profession. At the instigation of Major W. G. "Johnny" Raw, the manager of Rowland Ward of Nairobi, he started having his sculpture cast in bronze. prior to that it had been merely a hobby, and were mostly in cheaper materials such as clay and latex.
After taking up casting in bronze he met and worked with well-known sculptors like John Skeaping whose work he had admired and followed as a teenager, and William Timym, Johnathan Kenworthy and Rob Glenn whom he had known for many years also used the same foundry.
He was fortunate having the experience of being in the bush with wildlife on many photographic and collecting Safaris where he did take the time to study animals and birds, and enabled him to get the knowledge that would stand in good stead and give him subjects to fall back on from his memory bank. Added to which his many friends all over the world that he have shared safaris with, gave him a base for his work to gain an audience.
His work has been shown in Europe, Africa and the United States,and he has been fortunate to have a number of one man exhibitions, and many lately with other contemporary artists. His work is not strictly representational, and he does take liberties where he feels they are warranted to express a mood, the movement or lack of it is more important than the anotomical detail. However his sculptures have been acquired by some of the most prestigious collections in the USA.
He likes to stay close to the conversion of a working model, through the wax to the finished bronze and to this end he has worked with a number of foundries. However, since his son Denis started a foundry in Nairobi in 1987, much of his work goes through that organisation. Here it is easier to stay with a piece from the working model through all the stages to the finished bronze and its patination.
He has enjoyed receiving several commissions for large and life size pieces including a leopard, a St Bernard dog, an african elephant and a lioness. There is to him a great deal of pleasure working on the large pieces despite the extra physical exertion there is less fiddling with detail.
Wildlife sculptures in bronze, The Crossing by Wildlife Artist Terry Owen Mathews
Wildlife being his major interest for some seventy years he has many happy and exciting memories on which to look back, and concequently have, as have many hunters before him taken a great interest in the conservation of wildlife, and that of necessity cannot be just the most obvious candidates, but must include the whole chain, from the insects in the grass to the largest mammals. He has been fortunate indeed that all our sons have been or still are involved in one or more occupation that has to do with wildlife, whether depicting it or looking after it for those who come after them.
Terry Mathews has shown in over 30 exhibitions in Europe, America and Africa
• American Museum of Natural History, New York., 1971
• Game Conservation International, San Antonio, Texas, 1971, 73, 75
• Moorland Gallery, London, 1976
• Incurable Collector, New York, 1977
• World Wilderness Congress, Johannesburg, 1977
• Game Conservation International, San Antonio, Texas 1977, 78, 79
• Society of Animal Artists, San Antonio, Texas, 1980
• Game Conservation International. San Antonio, Texas 1981
• Game Conservation International, London, 1982
• Nairobi. 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986
• Game Coin International, San Antonio, 1983
• Game Coin International, San Antonio, 1985
• Society for Wildlife Art of the Nations, London, 1985
• Game Conservation International, San Antonio, Texas 1987, 1989
• Nairobi, 1994, 1997, 2004
• New York, 1997
• Beverly Hills, 1998
• Nairobi at Matbronze, 2004
His bronzes can be seen at SWAN in Wallsworth, Gloucestershire and at Matbronze Wildlife Art Gallery, Kifaru Lane, Nairobi as well as Harrison Galleries in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Support for Conservation
Terry is a strong supporter of conservation organizations, having contributed many bronzes to a number of conservation organizations including: Game Conservation International (contributed ten bronzes), Friends of Conservation, Kuki Gallmann's Ranch, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Rhino Rescue, Rhino Ark, Kenya Wildlife Service, Nairobi National Park, East African Wildlife Society, Cullman & Hurt Community Wildlife Project (Terry was Vice Chairman for a number of years and contributed three bronzes ) and, World Wide Fund for Nature.
In addition he is on the Advisory Committee of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and in 1990 donated a full size Rhino Cow and Calf to act as a begging bowl for the Rhino Conservation Movement which now stands at the entrance to the Nairobi National Park.
Later Terry was commissioned by the WWF and the East Africa Wildlife Society to build a monument to the burning of the ivory. The bronze was cast by Terry's son Denis in Nairobi and provided at cost. It now stands at the site of the original burning of the 12 tons of ivory.