Stephen Wiltshire MBE, (born 24 April 1.974) is a British architectural artist of West Indian ancestry who has been diagnosed with autism...

Stephen Wiltshire

Stephen Wiltshire MBE, (born 24 April 1.974) is a British architectural artist of West Indian ancestry who has been diagnosed with autism.

He is known for his ability to draw from memory a landscape after seeing it just once. 

His work has received worldwide popularity.

Early life and education

Wiltshire was born in London, England, in 1.974 to West Indian parents.

Wiltshire was mute when young. 

At age three, he was diagnosed as autistic. 

The same year, his father died in a motorcycle accident.

At age five, Stephen was sent to Queensmill School in London where he expressed interest in drawing. 

He began to communicate through his art. 

His teachers encouraged his drawing, and with their aid Wiltshire learned to speak at age five.

At the age of eight, he started drawing imaginary post-earthquake cityscapes and cars. 

When he was ten, Wiltshire drew a sequence of drawings of London landmarks, one for each letter, that he called a "London Alphabet".

In 1.987, Wiltshire was part of the BBC programme The Foolish Wise Ones.

Drawings, a collection of his works, was published that same year.

Between 1.995 and his graduation in 1.998, Wiltshire attended the City and Guilds of London Art School in Kennington, Lambeth, South London.


Wiltshire can look at a target once and then draw an accurate and detailed picture of it. 

He once drew the whole of central London after a helicopter trip above it.

He also draws imaginary scenes, for example, St. Paul's Cathedral surrounded by flames.

Wiltshire's early books include Drawings (1.987), Cities (1.989), Floating Cities (1.991), and Stephen Wiltshire's American Dream (1.993). 

His third book, Floating Cities (Michael Joseph, 1.991), was number one on the Sunday Times bestseller list.

In 2.003, a retrospective of his work was held in the Orleans House gallery in Twickenham, London.

In May 2.005 Stephen produced his longest ever panoramic memory drawing of Tokyo on a 10-foot-long (3.0 m) canvas within seven days following a short helicopter ride over the city. 

Since then he has drawn Rome, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai, Jerusalem and London on giant canvasses. 

When Wiltshire took the helicopter ride over Rome, he drew it in such great detail that he drew the exact number of columns in the Pantheon.

In October 2.009 Stephen completed the last work in the series of panoramas, an 18-foot (5.5 m) memory drawing of his "spiritual home", New York City.

Following a 20-minute helicopter ride over the city he sketched the view of New Jersey, Manhattan, the Financial District, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn over five days at the Pratt Institute college of art and design in New York City.

In 2.010, he made a series of drawings of Sydney, and visited Bermuda National Gallery where the sale of his drawing of Hamilton broke auction records. 

In June 2.010, Christie's auctioned off an iconic oil painting of his "Times Square at Night".

Wiltshire started a tour of China in September 2.010, with a first project taking him to Shanghai.

A 2.011 project in New York City involved Wiltshire's creation of a 250 feet (76 m) long panoramic memory drawing of New York which is now displayed on a giant billboard at JFK Airport. 

It is a part of a global advertising campaign for the Swiss bank UBS that carries the theme "We will not rest", The New York Times reported.


Stephen's work has been the subject of many TV documentaries. 

Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks writes about him in the chapter "Prodigies" in his book An Anthropologist on Mars.

In 2.006, Stephen Wiltshire was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to art. 

In September 2.006 Stephen opened his permanent gallery in the Royal Opera Arcade, Pall Mall, London.

On 15 February 2.008, ABC News named him Person of the Week.

In his first intimate interview with The Independent in 2.009 he revealed his dreams, aspirations, idols and biggest regrets.

In July 2.009 he acted as ambassador of the Children's Art Day in the United Kingdom.

In 2.011, Stephen Wiltshire has been made an honorary Fellow of the Society of Architectural Illustration (SAI).

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