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Scottish artist Archibald Thorburn was best known for his wildlife paintings and watercolours. A specialist in wildlife, he regularly visited Scotland to sketch and paint birds. He had a particular fondness for the forests of Gaick near Kingussie in Invernesshire, where he sketched many of his favourite species.

Born in Edinburgh, Thorburn attended Dalkeith and Edinburgh. He later attended St. John's Wood School of Art in London and underwent further studies with Joseph Wolf. His first commission was an illustration for Lord Lilford's Coloured Figures of the British Isles, which he completed in 1883. He went on to produce a series of 148 plates for the book. He also contributed to the Royal Society's survey of bird life, producing colour figures for their Christmas cards for the next several decades.

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