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Desmond Morris

(1928-), Zoologist, writer on animal and human behaviour and painter

Desmond John Morris

Sitter in 5 portraits
Desmond Morris is perhaps best-known for his book The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal, published in 1967. He studied Zoology at Birmingham and obtained a doctorate in animal behaviour at Oxford. In 1956 Morris became Head of the Granada TV and Film Unit at the Zoological Society of London, where he began making films and television programmes, starting with Zoo Time. Fascinated by the picture-making abilities of apes, he organised an exhibition of chimpanzee paintings and drawings at the ICA in 1957, and in 1959 became the Zoological Society's Curator of Mammals. He continues to write and present programmes on animal behaviour and pursue an equally important lifelong career as a surrealist painter.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Desmond Morris with Congo, by Herbert K. Nolan - NPG x24198

Desmond Morris with Congo

by Herbert K. Nolan
bromide print, 24 July 1956
NPG x24198

Desmond Morris, by Fox Photos Ltd - NPG x194144

Desmond Morris

by Fox Photos Ltd
vintage print, 1965
NPG x194144

Desmond Morris, by Fay Godwin - NPG x68247

Desmond Morris

by Fay Godwin
bromide print, 5 July 1978
NPG x68247

Desmond Morris, by Fay Godwin - NPG x68246

Desmond Morris

by Fay Godwin
bromide print, 5 July 1978
NPG x68246

Desmond Morris, by Fergus Greer - NPG x127797

Desmond Morris

by Fergus Greer
bromide fibre print, 1 May 1991
NPG x127797


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