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Claude Gibney Finch-Davies (1875-1920) was a British soldier, ornithologist and painter who produced a series of paintings of birds of South Africa in the early part of the 20th century. He was born in Delhi, India, the third child and eldest son of Major-General Sir William and Lady Elizabeth B. Davies. Having finished his schooling, Davies joined the Cape Mounted Riflemen in 1893 at their recruiting office in London. In that same year his regiment saw service in Pondoland in South Africa. They were sent there to keep the peace after that territory had been annexed by the Cape Colony. As a professional soldier Davies was posted to various remote places in the Eastern Cape, and this fostered an interest in natural history and in particular, birdlife. Within a year or two, he was collecting bird specimens and starting sketches and paintings. In his field sketchbooks he provided copious notes about each species he illustrated - at first his own field observations, but later augmented by information culled from books and scientific journals. His style of painting rapidly evolved to show great detail in the plumage while retaining a lifelike appearance. By 1905 he had produced some 200 paintings of consistently high quality and unusual beauty. The original plates are kept at the Transvaal Museum (now called the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History) in Pretoria, South Africa from which this limited edition book was printed.
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