A late Maine artist’s bird paintings sat in a Hermon home for 15 years before going on display

Like a chance sighting of a rare bird, the circumstances under which the exhibit of paintings by Maine biologist and artist Walter H. Rich came to be on display at the Zillman Art Museum in Bangor were a matter of things happening in the right place at the right time.

Kendra Raymond, a Hermon resident, for years has had in her possession a number of gouache and watercolor paintings of wild birds of New England by Rich, who was a family friend and longtime colleague of her great-grandfather, William C. Kendall, in the early 1900s in the US Bureau of Fisheries office in Portland.

Rich, born in 1866, was an agent for the bureau between 1913 and 1936. In addition to his scientific duties, he was also an accomplished self-taught artist, creating exactingly detailed paintings of birds, fish and other wildlife. Among his many accomplishments was a book titled “Feathered Game of the Northeast,” featuring 80 original images of various bird species, accompanied by his written observations of each bird.

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