VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 17.5% on the buyer's premium.
CHARLES FREDERICK TUNNICLIFFE, R.A. (1901-1979)
(lots 48 -121)
One of the most significant collections of the artist's work to be presented to the market, the present series of watercolours, drawings and prints bare testament to the originality and brilliance of C.F. Tunnicliffe. The sheer variety of subject matter, combined with his imagination, sense of design and unique take on composition are encapsulated in the works - works that venture far beyond the category of wildlife art.
Growing up on a farm in Langley, Cheshire, it is perhaps not surprising that Tunnicliffe was so drawn to the study of birds and animals. Elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1944, his close proximity to nature continued in 1947 when he moved to Shorelands, a house in Anglesey by the Cefni estuary, where he could see a broad variety of wildlife on walks and rambles, or even from his living room window (see lot 108). Tunnicliffe found much inspiration in the area, and in 1954 he was elected Royal Academician.
While such examples as lot 77 present the viewer with refined, calculated finished pieces, it is perhaps the highly decorative preparatory studies that provide the greatest insight into the workings of Tunnicliffe - the speed and competence of his hand and eye are startlingly apparent in each lot. The artist was emphatic that the starting point of any work was with the live creature; to do this, he would memorize sightings of wild animals, and then return to his studio and work on drawings. Through these studies, one can trace his thoughts and ideas, his unerring sense of composition and colour, with his sheer understanding, appreciation and knowledge for his subject, whether it be a fox (lot 101), a Tawny owl (lot 98) or a Whooper swan (lot 48). On occasion they were studies for pleasure or larger compositions, while other times they were workings to show a client for a commission, or for magazine illustrations.
Tunnicliffe also undertook several book commissions, most famously collaborating with the author Henry Williamson. It was a highly turbulent and volatile relationship that often saw writer and artist at odds, over both personal and professional issues. Together, they produced a number of great works, including The Lone Swallows, The peregrine Saga and the much loved Salar the Salmon (lots 64 - 75) and Tarka the Otter (lots 116 - 120).
We are grateful to James Cooper for his assistance in cataloguing the works by C.F. Tunnicliffe.