Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe (1901 - 1979)

A Belgian Bantam Sold

Green chalk and watercolour, heightened with gouache, over an underdrawing in pencil.
Inscribed BELGIAN BANTAM / John Sears at the lower right.
Stamped with the artist’s estate stamp CHARLES TUNNICLIFFE R.A. / STUDIO 1980 NO.395/3 on the verso.
283 x 248 mm. (11 1/8 x 9 3/4 in.)


As Charles Tunnicliffe’s close friend and fellow artist Kyffin Williams has written of his studies of birds: ‘These drawings, in watercolour, gouache, pencil and ink, are accurate to within a millimeter, are most beautifully laid out on sheets of paper in an exciting pattern of the bird’s body with details of beak, wing and claw. Sometimes actual feathers are stick to the paper and invariably the whole design is somehow united by the artist’s delicate handwriting stating the name of the bird, its sex, the state of its plumage and when it was found. Few people have ever seen these drawings because they form the artist’s personal library from which he is able to extract vital information if suddenly asked to complete a particular commission...The drawings are important because they show the art student what real hard work and dedication mean; they are important because of their scientific value, but above all they are important because quite unintentionally they are works of art.’

The inscription at the lower right of the present sheet refers to John Sears, of Guildford in Surrey. Sears was a renowned breeder of Belgian Bantams, and also served as secretary of the British Belgian Bantam Club.

A pendant watercolour and gouache drawing of another, lighter-coloured Belgian Bantam bred by Sears, of identical dimensions, was sold alongside it in 1986 and shares the same later provenance.

Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 13-14 November 1986, part of lot 144
Spink, London
Mark Birley, Thurloe Lodge, London.

Charles Frederick TUNNICLIFFE

A Belgian Bantam


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