Art Charles Tunnicliffe Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné
Robert Meyrick and Harry Heuser (Royal Academy of Arts, £35)
this is the fourth in the royal Academy’s (ra) series of catalogues raisonné of 20th-century printmaker Academicians.
cheshire-born charles tunnicliffe trained at Macclesfield School of Art before progressing via Manchester and a scholarship to the royal college of Art, where he studied in the Painting School. On graduation, Malcolm Osborne, the Professor of engraving, persuaded him to stay on a further year and, in 1924, he produced his first etching, a copy of a rembrandt self-portrait.
etching remained his principal medium until 1932, when he made four illustrations inspired by Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter, which he sent to its publishers, G. P. Putnam. the firm’s directors and the author were impressed and persuaded him to try wood engraving; later that year, they published a new, popular, five-shilling edition complete with 24 full-page illustrations plus vignette drawings.
From that point on, until 1950, wood engraving became his preferred print medium. tunnicliffe was a countryman through and through and virtually all the 435 prints reproduced here, from Loading the Muck Cart (1928) to A Stag in the Copse (1949), reflect his farming background and love of nature. He told one reviewer: ‘It’s got to be either natural history or farming or something like that before I am even comfortable about it.’
An accompanying exhibition, ‘Second nature: the Art of charles tunnicliffe ra’ is at the ra, tennant Gallery, Piccadilly, London W1, until October 8 (www.royalacademy.org.uk). Peyton Skipwith
Long-eared owl (1954)