Prints and Cards by Tim Halliday
I live in Oxford, England. As a schoolboy at Marlborough, my two enthusiasms were for art and biology; I became a biologist largely because it is a subject in which being able to draw is an advantage. After graduating from New College, Oxford with a degree in zoology, I spent a short period making less than a living illustrating children's books. I decided to write and illustrate a book of my own and Vanishing Birds was published in 1978; some of its illustrations are featured here. Since then, I have been interested in biodiversity and its decline, though my research career was focussed on the more cheerful topic of the sex life of newts, frogs and toads. In 1989, herpetologists from around the world held their first international congress and it became apparent for the first time that amphibians were mysteriously disappearing worldwide. From 1993 to 2005, I was international director of the IUCN Declining Amphibian Populations task force, a network of scientists seeking to understand this phenomenon. I retired as Professor in Biology at the Open University in 2009 and returned to art, painting pictures of amphibians, particularly those that are extinct or nearly so. In 2016, I wrote a 600-page book, The Book of Frogs, published by Chicago University Press in the USA and by Ivy Press in the UK.
There are nearly 7000 species of amphibians and it is estimated that around a third of them are threatened with extinction. By drawing attention to the beauty of these vulnerable creatures, I hope to raise awareness of this disturbing phenomenon.