Memorable Manitobans: Angus Henry Shortt (1908-2006)
Born at Belfast, Ireland on 25 September 1908, son of Henry Shortt and Emma McMeekin, the family moved to Winnipeg in 1911. It was during these early years that his passion for birds and artistry flourished under the guiding hand of his mother. After training at the Winnipeg School of Art as part of Brigdens Graphic Arts training program, his early career involved working at museums in Winnipeg and New York. He worked at Ducks Unlimited Canada from 1939 to 1973 as a multimedia artist involving canvas, watercolours, pen/ink, pencil sketches, and animated models for films. He was the artist for a number of publications such as Know Your Ducks and Geese, and articles in Sports Afield magazine.
His artwork on waterfowl became widely renowned for its detail and authentic life-like settings. He became known internationally through his sales of commissioned waterfowl paintings to sportsmen, collectors and nature lovers. In 1963 he designed a Canada Geese stamp for the Canadian Post Office. He was long time member of the Natural History Society of Manitoba where he frequently lectured on ornithology and displayed his talent as an artist and nature photographer. He wrote a column entitled “Wild Wings” for the Winnipeg Tribune, as well as “Marsh World”. His autobiography My Life With Birds: The Education and Successes of a Wildlife Artist was published in 2003.
He served as President of the Manitoba Naturalists Society from 1948 to 1950. Among his honours was a Fellowship in the American Ornithologists Union (1947), a Good Citizenship Award from the Manitoba government (1969), and a Manitoba Centennial Medal from the Manitoba Historical Society (1970). Shortt Lake in northern Manitoba was named after him.
He died at Winnipeg on 8 January 2006. A collection of his papers, paintings and drawings is held by the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 10 January 2006.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 23 December 2014
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