Hugh Brandon-Cox (1917 – 2004)
Hugh Brandon-Cox was an artist, explorer and writer inspired as much by the wildlife and wind-swept expanses of the north Norfolk coast as of northern Scandinavia.
He was born on June 14 1917 at Elmstead Market, Essex. His father, Colonel John Brandon-Cox, a well-known naturalist and explorer, had been killed during a Zulu uprising in Southern Africa (where he was serving as District Commissioner) a few months before his only son was born. He remained an important influence on Hugh, who conceived a firm ambition to become an explorer.
Hugh spent a great deal of his childhood exploring the Essex countryside round the river Colne. In these early years, he was encouraged by his grandmother, who took him on bird watching expeditions to the Essex marshes and sent him out exploring by himself with food to last him through the day. He became fascinated by stories of expeditions to the Arctic and, as a teenager, gained a working knowledge of Swedish in the hope that that this would prove valuable in the future.
After the war, Brandon-Cox went to live in Wiltshire where he founded The West Countryman magazine. It was a successful venture, but he longed to return to the wide skies of East Anglia. He moved to Cambridge, where he worked as a countryside and nature correspondent for a national magazine, often illustrating his articles with his own photographs.
Brandon-Cox wrote and illustrated a series of books about his travels in Norway and the Arctic circle and later wrote books which evoked the bleak grandeur of the coastal scenery and the timeless quality of the Norfolk countryside. In his later years he became equally well known for his watercolours of Norfolk country scenes and wildlife, which were eagerly sought by collectors.