Sean Milne artist and illustrator

About the artist

Sean Milne (1946-2020) was a professional artist, illustrator and woodcarver specialising in natural
history. He studied at Hornsey College of Art in London and lived and worked in rural mid Wales for
over 40 years.

Based in the heart of the Cambrian mountains in one of the most wild and beautiful parts of Wales,
Sean’s work was inevitably influenced by the beauty and isolation of his surroundings. The local area
is home to the Red Kite, Buzzard, and many other interesting animals, birds and plants, all of which
became the subjects of his paintings.

Sean worked in various mediums (including inks, acrylics and pencil) but it is with watercolour that
he developed his true expertise. His paintings are beautifully detailed and show a true
understanding of the medium.

Having made his home in the remote valley of Abergwesyn in 1979, he pursued his career spanning
four decades as a wildlife, botanical and medical illustrator. You will find his work in many popular
field guides and wildlife books.

Later in life he focused on creating beautifully detailed watercolour paintings inspired by the natural
world around him. These feature the wildlife and landscapes of mid Wales that he loved so much,
and explore the unstoppable power and beauty of the natural world. The driving force throughout
Sean’s working life was his deep interest in nature in all its forms. He particularly loved birds and was
incredibly knowledgeable about the natural world, and his powers of observation and keen eye for
detail shine through in all his work.

A husband to Celia, father to four daughters and Grandpa to nine grandchildren, he is very much missed by his family. But his creativity and love of the natural world lives on through his work on our walls.

Paintings and prints

Fine art giclee prints of Sean’s work (available unmounted, mounted or framed) are still available to buy – with a small selection on sale through his Etsy shop. A selection of prints are also stocked by
Oriel Gallery, Crickhowell.

A much wider range of work is also held by his wife Celia – please get in touch for details.

Sean’s career as an illustrator

Having trained in illustration at Hornsey College of Art during the 1960s, Sean established a name for
himself in the world of natural history illustration, working with UK, European and American
publishers on a large number of illustrated books and other publications.

Formally trained in natural history and medical illustration, Sean was expert at creating beautiful yet
detailed and fully referenced illustrations.

Over the years he built up an extensive library of natural history reference materials in order to
ensure that his work was always accurate. Sean illustrated many medical and reference books; he
also illustrated for children’s literature.

Publishing companies that Sean worked with include: Oxford University Press, Dorling Kindersley,
BBC Publications, Harper Collins, Readers Digest, Mitchel Beazley, Larousse, Elsevier and Time Life.

Working with wood

Sean’s knowledge of the animal world, in particular his interest in birds, translated easily into 3D
form. He developed his skills as a wood carver over many years, using a range of different types of
wood including oak, beech, cherry, ash and lime.

He was interested in using traditional carving techniques and skills to create more abstract
interpretations of natural form – studying the beauty of the wood, following the patterns of the
grain and letting the shapes emerge.

He said, “I think the freedom and beauty of wood as a medium has enabled me to explore more
abstract forms using the natural shape, feel and colour of the wood to create beautiful objects.”
Sean was always keen to try his hand at new skills, and had started to experiment with relief carving,
which involved different techniques, and incorporating Celtic imagery and designs within his