Michael Lythgoe was born in Liverpool in 1950. Upon completion of an engineering apprenticeship in 1970 he joined the Merchant Navy as a junior officer. After their marriage in 1975 Lythgoe and his wife, Carol-Anne, emigrated to Canada settling in St Catherines, Ontario. Living close to the shores of Lake Ontario Lythgoe took up bird photography as his main hobby spending thousands of hours observing the bird life of Canada. The extensive network of lakes in Northern Ontario provided the opportunity for canoe trips to photograph his favourite subject, the ‘Loon’, with its beautiful form and haunting cry.
Other hobbies explored during his eleven years in Canada included learning acoustic guitar and also a course in interior design. On a trip to Cape Cod Lythgoe purchased several old wooden decoys which still sit proudly in his workshop today. They inspired him to change direction and upon his return to the UK in 1986 he made the life changing decision to become a bird carver. Lythgoe was offered his first gallery exhibition with William Marler in 1989 which resulted in a sell out. That year he won the European Decoy Carving Championship. Many exhibitions followed over the years in Britain.
His work is fluid, curvaceous and calming. The eye of the ornithologist and engineer are evident in the finely finished work. His early work concentrated on realism and very fine detail but has now evolved into a style and form recognised by many. Lythgoe uses North American Red Cedar for 95% of his work chosen for its attractive grain and stability. Artists’ acrylics are then applied and sealed with a wax finish.