illustrations / drawings by C.F. Tunnicliffe


We recently received a parcel from the UK containing, amongst other things, a collection of Ladybird Books. And what is more, I was particularly excited to spot ‘THE FARM’ by M.E. GAGG N.F.U with illustrations by C.F Tunnicliffe one of my favourite artists. If I were wealthier, he is definitely an artist who’s work I would collect. What is more, though an English man from Cheshire, he lived on the Isle of Anglesea, or Ynys Mon in Welsh, a stones throw from my mother.

The Ladybird book is like all others but his illustrations are clearly scenes from Anglesea and clearly in the 1950’s. It’s a landscape that still (just) remains and very recognisable from my childhood as this is where we would holiday every summer. It’s a beautiful landscape especially when not raining!

However it is not this work I admire in Tunnicliffe but the intricate studies in pencil and watercolour of birds. He lived in a modest house overlooking an estuary clearly for the daily access to the subject of his best work and obsession, birds. Local, children would bring him specimens found dead in the surrounding area and he would make these beautiful studies. Studies made purely for the objective wonder of pattern colour and form as it appeared in  the scapulars, the primaries and upper tail coverts…


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