Marking Time

By Libra

The Owl Man- collection of 4,500

Malcolm Allan with a painting of an eagle owl by artist Sarah Spofforth-McQuat.

Meet the man with 4,500 owls- Malcolm Allan, retired rare books librarian from Bridge of Allan.

I had lunch with him today in the Smith museum and art gallery in Stirling, which is currently holding an exhibition of his collection.

He began collecting as a 15-year-old schoolboy at Manchester Grammar inspired by their motto "sapere aude" of a woven owl - Dare to be wise.

He has an international collection gathered from his own travels and that of family and friends. "Everyone knows what to give me," he says.

Indeed a small gift I gave to Malcolm on the occasion of his birthday was an early drawing of mine on the computer and it is among the works on show.
See blipfolio Owls for selection of images.

Some he has picked up from charity shops.

One of the most interesting aspects of the exhibition, apart from its sheer diversity and range of materials used is the way that artists throughout the world have interpreted the image of the owl- from the aggressive Russian to the minimalist Japanese, colourful Lithuanian, naive Eskimo to the beautifully executed piece of craftsmanship by an artist from the Philippines.

But he has some way to go before entering the Guinness World Records for the largest collection of owls. That belongs to Pam Barker of Leeds with 18,000 owls.

Check out a video I made of an eagle owl at our local falconry centre - "Claws".

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