Fantastic menagerie

The sinister majesty of Walton Ford's wildlife

At first glance, Walton Ford’s large-scale, highly-detailed watercolors of animals may recall the prints of 19th century illustrators John James Audubon and Edward Lear, and others of the colonial era. But a closer look reveals a complex and disturbingly anthropomorphic universe, full of symbols, sly jokes, and allusions to the ’operatic’ nature of traditional natural history themes. The beasts and birds populating this contemporary artist’s life-size paintings are never mere objects, but dynamic actors in allegorical struggles: a wild turkey crushes a small parrot in its claw; a troupe of monkeys wreak havoc on a formal dinner table, an American buffalo is surrounded by bloodied white wolves. The book’s title derives from The Pancha Tantra, an ancient Indian book of animal tales considered the precursor to Aesop’s Fables.

This large-format edition includes an in-depth exploration of Walton Ford’s oeuvre, a complete biography, and excerpts from his textual inspirations: Vietnamese folktales and the letters of Benjamin Franklin, the Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini and Audubon’s Ornithological Biography.

First published in TASCHEN’s limited collector’s edition — now available in this standard hardcover edition!
The artist:
Walton Ford, born 1960 in Larchmont, NY, graduated in filmmaking from RISD, but switched to large-scale watercolor painting. His work has been widely exhibited, including shows at the Whitney and Brooklyn museums. He lives and works in Massachusetts.


The author:
Bill Buford is an author and New Yorker staff writer, as well as the founding editor of Granta, which he edited for 16 years. His books include Among the Thugs and Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as a Kitchen Slave. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.
Walton Ford. Pancha Tantra (Jumbo, TASCHEN 25 Edition)

Walton Ford. Pancha Tantra


Hardcover, 11.0 x 14.7 in., 320 pages
$ 69.99
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
Availability: In Stock
  • Reviews
"Audubon-on-Viagra..."
— New York Magazine, New York, United States
  • See also
Walton Ford. Pancha Tantra (Collector's Edition)
Walton Ford. Pancha Tantra
Hardcover in clamshell box, 14.8 x 19.7 in., 354 pages
$ 2,000

The beautifully savage beasts and birds of Walton Ford. Limited edition of 1,500 copies
Mark Ryden. Pinxit (Collector's Edition)
Mark Ryden. Pinxit
Hardcover in clamshell box, 14.8 x 19.7 in., 366 pages
$ 1,000

Mark Ryden’s carnival of curiosities. Limited editon of 1,000 copies
  • Videos
Walton Ford
A Self-Portrait. Filmed at Walton Ford's Studio in The Berkshires. December 2007