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The artist wrote, “Elephants adore mud. After a cool few minutes sploshing around, during which time they get themselves into impossible positions to ensure that the mud reached every square inch of their rather large bodies, they come out and have a good dust down in the sand—the elephant equivalent of talcum powder. This is an essential part of the daily routine of an elephant. Then, if there is a convenient tree nearby—and there usually is—the next thing to do is to have a really good scratch to complete the whole blissful experience; the ticks in the heavy folds of the jumbo’s skin don’t like this treatment very much but then that’s the whole idea. Around many a waterhole in Africa it is possible to see many trees have been worn as smooth as glass by this treatment.”

Elephant Heaven was released as a limited-edition print in 1975.

David Shepherd, The Man Who Loves Giants (London: David & Charles, 1975), front cover, illustrated

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