Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935)
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Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935)

Grouse in flight

Details
Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935)
Grouse in flight
signed and dated 'Archibald Thorburn/1913.' (lower right)
pencil, watercolour and bodycolour with gum arabic on paper
29½ x 51¾ in. (75 x 131.5 cm.)
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Lot Essay

Born in Scotland, Thorburn chose to live in, or close to, London to be at the hub of the art market, but never lost the love for the land of his birth, returning at least once every year to replenish his sketch books with images of grouse, ptarmigan, blackgame, deer and eagles.

Thorburn had five favourite locations to which he returned regularly. One was Inveran in Ross-shire, where he stayed with his great friend and patron, John Henry Dixon, and when he retired to Pitlochry, where he bought a house called Dundarrock (later to become a hotel), Thorburn regularly stayed with him there until his death in 1926.

The present watercolour was probably executed during one of Thorburn's visits to Pitlochry. It was executed the same year as Swerving from the Guns (see Thorburn Museum sale; Sotheby's, London, 31 March 1993, lot 69) which depicts a similar view of the loch and hillside.

The present watercolour is a magnificent example of Thorburn's technique, capturing the birds in flight over the moors on a grand and majestic scale. Using his skill with foreshortening, he has managed to create a sense of buoyancy, with the birds shown speeding across the glowing heather.

We are grateful to John Southern for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.
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