Loet Vanderveen was born in Rotterdam, Holland. His home was very close to the zoo where during his early years, Loet spent a great deal of his time. It was during this period in life that he developed his love for animals. At night, listening to the sound of the wild animals in the zoo, he would fantasise about safaris to Africa... fantasies which were eventually realised! Hours before the bombardment of Rotterdam, the Dutch army was ordered to destroy all of the dangerous species in the zoo. The animals were destroyed as well as his home and these events led Loet into a new phase of his life.

He escaped from occupied Holland and upon his arrival in England, he was decorated for valour, by Queen Wilhelmia and served in the RAF. During the first eleven years, he lived in Zurich, London and New York, working as a fashion designer. He was not satisfied with his profession and a meeting with Fong Chow, the curator of the Far Eastern Department of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, led to private ceramic studies with Fong for the next three years. He learned a great deal about Chinese glaze techniques and applying fine glazes to the correct forms. This knowledge eventually led to applying patinas to bronze animal forms.

Photograph by Gina Taro