Desmond Morris

Desmond Morris (b.1928) is a writer, painter and former broadcaster who focusses on animal and human behaviour.


Graduating with a science degree from Birmingham University, then gaining his doctorate at Oxford University and did post-doctoral research at the Department of Zoology at the University, 1954–6.


Discussing his own artistic work, he describes how his painting stems directly from his unconscious mind, with images growing freely in wild places.


Morris also wrote and directed two surrealist films and organised an exhibition of paintings by chimpanzees at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1957.


In comparison to his zoological work, of which Morris described that he was ‘a slave to the actual’, painting allowed him freedom and creativity.