John Southern writes of Thorburn's paintings of blackgame 'With the possible exception of woodcock Thorburn loved blackgame more than any other bird, revelling in the challenge of capturing faithfully with brush and paint the glorious sheen on the blackcock's neck and back and the wilderness of the terrain in which they lived.' (J. Southern, Thorburn's Landscape, London, 1981, p. 58).
Thorburn has masterfully captured the stance of the blackcock as he struts towards the crouched hen. The bright yellow of the gorse is a striking contrast against the black of the blackcock's tail.