Selby was born in Alnwick, Northumberland, and was one of the leading naturalists and ornithological artists of the first half on the 19th Century. His magnificent Illustrations of British Ornithology was published in nineteen parts from 1821 to 1834 and its life-sized plates preceded Gould and were the first attempt to provide a complete life-sized record of British birds which were largely drawn from specimens which he himself obtained. Other publications included his Illustrations of Ornithology of 1832, Pigeons in 1835 and Parrots in 1836. In 1837 he co-founded the Magazine of Zoology and Botany. Selby travelled extensively in the north and west of Scotland investigating its flora and fauna and doubtless this scene is based on his observations from those journeys. His estate at Twizell House, Northumberland, was a convivial meeting place for natural historians.