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ian-sheldonIan Sheldon
MA (Cantab) MSc

Ian Sheldon is an alumnus of Cambridge University, having read Natural Sciences at Magdalene College (1990). It was during his academic time in the city that he fell in love with the architecture and colours of the historic university. His watercolours were so well received that it soon led to representation by the region’s leading commercial gallery (Cambridge Contemporary Art on Sidney Street), and he was represented there until 2008.

Cambridge University Press noticed the calibre of Ian’s paintings, and invited him to exhibit some 50 of his paintings in the Pitt Building to help celebrate the Trumpington Street building’s renovation. This successful show soon led to him receiving the exciting offer of being published. Cambridge University Press invited Ian to put together a compilation of his favourite watercolours, as well as to paint all remaining significant buildings in the city. This huge amount of work resulted in the publication of the lovely coffee table book Cambridge Footsteps: a passage through time in 2009; the book was commissioned to help the university celebrate it’s 800th anniversary, as well as the Press’s 425th anniversary. The Press owns numerous original paintings from the collection, and many of the original watercolours are in the hands of a private collector who has graciously loaned his collection to the Cambridge Judge Business School.

Ian is an award-winning artist, and with more than 23 years of professional representation in the arts, he is very busy as a full-time artist. After his stint at Cambridge he felt the calling to return to the land of his birth, Canada. Here he diversified his artistic endeavours, and now is highly sought after for his works in oil on canvas, as well as works in glass and metal. His home on the edge of the prairies in Alberta has inspired large-scale, impressionistic paintings of the environment around him. It was from Canada that his Cambridge connections continued to blossom with fine art, resulting in many trips back to the UK to research new aspects of Cambridge architecture to inspire new watercolour paintings and the book.

Ian’s focus on wide horizons and big canvases resulted in shows across North America, notably in Toronto, San Francisco and New York. By the age of 33 in 2004 he was already listed in the Canadian Who’s Who for his contributions to the national arts and culture scene. Further recognition came in 2010 from Schiffer Publishing in the USA, a publisher that fell in love with his works in glass. This resulted in his inclusion in Creative Glass as one of 110 international artists creating outstanding works in the medium. Following the Cambridge publication, Ian was invited to put together a beautiful tome of oil paintings inspired by the prairies, and in 2011 Storm Chaser: Canadian Prairie Skyscapes was published (Argenta Press) marking a pivotal moment in Ian’s career as a successful and renowned artist.

Ian also had his hand in entomological illustration and worked with a Canadian publisher producing beautiful life-like plates of insects. After many field guide publications, most of the original plates were acquired by the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library at the University of Alberta. This is one of the best collections of its kind with its focus on historical entomology. Here the illustrations will be in a permanent archive serving as a testament to Ian’s skill as both artist and scientist.

With so much publicity and and so many career accolades already under his belt, Ian is sure to have a lasting place in the arts. To get a full impression of Ian’s many talents visit his comprehensive website at


Photo credit: Darren Greenwood