Winged Creatures: Birds, Moths, and Butterflies by John Abbot & Floyd Robbins

Jepson Center February 4 - April 24, 2011

Exhibition Closed April 2011

Although the natural landscape of the southeastern United States has changed vastly as a result of European settlement, the region’s wildlife has provided consistent inspiration to naturalists and artists over the centuries.

Decades before John James Audubon would commence work on his famed volume Birds of America, British-born naturalist John Abbot (1751-c.1840) immigrated to eastern Georgia and began creating spectacularly detailed and remarkably lifelike watercolors of the birds and insects native to the area. These illustrations numbered over 5,000 by the time of Abbot’s death, and significantly advanced the work of early ornithologists and entomologists by allowing them to better study and classify these winged creatures of Georgia.

This tradition of observing and vividly documenting the wildlife of the southeast is continued today, 200 years later, by self-taught woodcarver Floyd C. Robbins (b. 19??). A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Robbins has lived worked in the South Carolina Low Country for over thirty years. Using knives, bandsaws, wood-burning tools, and paint, Robbins painstakingly creates arrestingly lifelike carvings of game birds. Robbins’s wood carvings are prized by collectors in the region and around the country for their elegance and their fidelity to nature.

Winged Creatures will consist of approximately 30 watercolors by John Abbot and 20 carvings by Floyd Robbins. Its focus on the natural world relates to the concurrent exhibition Philip Juras: The Southern Frontier, Landsapes Inspired by Bartram’s Travels, on view at the Telfair Academy January 28 through May 8.

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Copy work for Telfair Museum of Art and Sciences

John Abbot (American, b. England, 1751-c.1840); Yellow Vent (Palm Warbler), n.d.; Watercolor on paper; 11 x 8 5/8 inches; Telfair Museum of Art; Gift of Mrs. Holly Symmes Montford in memory of her father, Mr. John Cleves Symmes, Jr.