AUCTIONEER UNCOVERS FORGOTTEN DRAWINGS BY LEADING WILDLIFE ILLUSTRATOR CHARLES TUNNICLIFFE UK auctioneers Peter Wilson of Nantwich, Cheshire, have uncoverted a cache of drawings by Charles Tunnicliffe, one of the great wildlife artists and book illustrators of the 20th century. Sale: July 5
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - A cache of drawings by the celebrated wildlife artist and book illustrator Charles Tunnicliffe bequeathed by him to his niece has been discovered in her home following her recent death and will be seen publicly for the first time when they come onto the auction market next week.
The 18 illustrations, mostly of birds and other wildlife, are superb examples of Tunnicliffe's painstaking and highly detailed draughtsmanship. They were discovered in the Macclesfield home of Mrs Cicely Ridgway, a textile designer who worked at Hallé Models in the town and herself an amateur artist. They are expected to sell for around £10,000 in a sale at Nantwich, Cheshire, auctioneers Peter Wilson on Wednesday July 6.
"The whereabouts of these forgotten drawings has been a mystery since they left Tunnicliffe's Anglesey studio following his death in 1979," said Peter Wilson paintings specialist Stephen Sparrow.
"Tunnicliffe was a prolific illustrator of his own and other people's books and these were the original drawings which he would have sent in for approval by the publishers. Each one is either signed or monogrammed and bears his official studio stamp, which means they were either never submitted or were returned by the publishers. It is quite possible, therefore, that many, are previously unseen and never published, making their true worth almost impossible to value.
"The estimates we have placed on them are based on prices we have achieved for other works by the artist that we have sold recently, but I have never before seen anything like this set of what are in effect artist's proofs. They are truly delightful and we anticipate a huge amount of interest from Tunnicliffe's following from both this country and internationally."
Mrs Ridgway (née Campey) was born in Sutton Lane Ends, Langley, near Macclesfield, Cheshire, close to where her uncle lived. She married engineer Peter Ridgway, the son of Macclesfield mill owner Randolphus Ridgway and she and her late husband lived in Hobson Street. She kept in close touch with her uncle and visited him regularly in Anglesey, where he had a studio attached to his home. Following his death in 1979, Mrs Ridgway was one of a small number of close relatives to whom Tunnicliffe left drawings in his will.
Tunnicliffe, the son of a farmer, was born in Langley in 1901. He won a scholarship to Macclesfield School of Art, attended Manchester School of Art and at the age of 19 won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. He moved from Manchester in 1947 to “Shorelands” a cottage and studio on the estuary of the Afon Cefni on Anglesey, where he lived and worked until his death in 1979.
A painter of birds and animals in their natural surroundings, but with scientific precision and accuracy, his best known book illustrations were for Henry Williamson's Tarka the Otter. He was also commissioned to do drawings for use in advertising and his pictures were used to illustrate Brooke Bond tea cards, which were collected in their thousands