As you approach this former farmhouse overlooking the tiny village of Thixendale, you are immediately aware of how Robert Fuller gets his inspiration. It’s not unusual to spot hares bounding across the fields here, or to glimpse owls gliding over hedgerows. And as soon as you step out of the car, the air is alive with birdsong.
Inside the elegant, beamed gallery, exquisitely detailed portraits of these shy creatures hang on the walls, and bronze sculptures glint in the soft light. The gallery is dedicated exclusively to Robert’s artwork and the majority of his subjects – ranging from robins to sparrow hawks and boxing hares to badgers – live or have nested in the garden, in sight of Robert's studio window.
Visitors are encouraged to help themselves to a warm cup of coffee whilst they browse the original artworks, limited edition prints, greeting cards, calendars and luxury tableware on display. Open every day of the year, the gallery ranks top of a TripAdvisor guide
to the best art galleries in Yorkshire. And in spite of its remote location, it receives an astonishing 12,000 visitors a year, many drawn by Robert’s impressive reputation. Widely regarded as an expert on wildlife matters, he regularly appears on national television and his articles on wildlife are published each month in the regional newspaper, the Yorkshire Post.
The gallery’s popularity is also testament to the fact that there is so much for a visitor to enjoy here. Alongside the artworks are Robert’s outstanding collections of photographs of wildlife from around the world, as well as storyboards recounting his wildlife watching adventures both abroad and at home – such as the time he persuaded birds of prey to feed from his bird table! There are also video screens showing his remarkable footage of animal behaviour and live screens relaying images from inside animal and bird nests. The artist’s studio is usually open so that visitors can also see how Robert works and enjoy an exclusive glimpse of the latest painting on his easel.
Robert paints mainly in acrylics and oils, favouring a highly detailed realistic style. His commitment to authenticity is second to none and he spends months studying a particular animal or bird before settling down to accurately reflect the behaviour and character of his wild subjects in his compositions, as he tells us here: