Ralph Thompson

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For the U.S. federal judge, see Ralph Gordon Thompson. For the Jamaican poet, see Ralph Thompson (poet). For the footballer, see Ralph Thompson (footballer).

Ralph Thompson MBE (3 June 1913[1] – May 3, 2009) was an artist and book illustrator, who specialized in pen and ink sketches of animal subjects. His most noteworthy works are his series of book illustrations for the famous naturalist and author Gerald Durrell in the period 1954 to 1964 when Durrell was associated with the publishing firm of Rupert Hart-Davis. During this period of time, he visited Gerald Durrell's Jersey Zoo numerous times to sketch his subjects, especially when working on the illustrations of Menagerie Manor.

He has illustration credits for numerous other animal books and stories mostly for children and young adults, as well as commissioned animal posters and drawings.

Ralph Thompson also illustrated picture books like Chess Dream in a Garden by Rosemary Sutcliff.

He was the author of three books on animal illustration.

Reader's Digest issued a sketchbook of Ralph Thompson in 1970 titled Animals Through the Eyes of an Artist.

An exhibition of his works is part of the 2009 Cookham Festival.


  1. ^ Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF) .