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Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, R.A. (1901-1979)

The fashion parade

signed ‘CF Tunnicliffe’ (lower right)

oil on canvas
25 ⅛ x 30 ¼ in. (63.8 x 76.8 cm.)

frame 30 ⅞ x 36 in. (78.4 x 91.4 cm.)

Painted in circa 1950.


A friend and neighbour of fellow Royal Academician Kyffin Williams37 (1918-2006), the Royal Academy recently staged a solo exhibition of Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe’s work, showcasing his versatility and exceptional ability as an artist.

Tunnicliffe’s influences are particularly broad and far-reaching, ranging from Oriental art to Henri Matisse, from Joseph Crawhall to Paul Gauguin. Certainly in the present painting, the strength and lines of the composition give the work an almost Oriental feel, while the bold forms and shapes are worthy of any work by Gauguin or Matisse. The execution and brushwork on the foliage, grass and daisies, are perhaps closer to home, and call to mind the work of Sir Stanley Spencer (1891-1959), Royal Academician and contemporary to Tunnicliffe.

Another great influence on Tunnicliffe was the renowned Franco-American ornithological artist adventurer, John James Audubon (1785-1851), whose striking compositions provide an ancestral echo to the present work. Both artists were keen walkers, and shared an indefatigable fascination with nature, which is communicated in their output.


The fashion parade presents the viewer with a kaleidoscopic perfection of balance, a compositional structure that marries aesthetics and subject matter with execution and natural form. The dark central pigeon, dominating the centre of the painting, is balanced by the lighter birds that encircle it - their striking plumage set off by the rich range of greens of the foliage, and punctuated by the pinks of their legs. The scattered leaves and constellations of daisies (not too many, not too few) frame the pigeons, and work together to help create a faultless visual equilibrium, designed, harmonised, and executed by the hand of a master.

NB. There is a strong connection between Kyffin Williams and C.F. Tunnicliffe. It was Williams that persuaded the highly modest Tunnicliffe to hold an exhibition of his work at the Royal Academy in 1974, which was a great success.

In 1991, Oriel Ynys Môn was built in Angelsey, to house a collection of works by Tunnicliffe, that had been acquired by Anglesey Borough Council from Christie’s, ten years earlier. Williams was a regular visitor to the museum, and donated over 400 works for which a new gallery was constructed within the building. In 2011 (to celebrate it’s 20th birthday) a joint exhibition of works by Tunnicliffe and Williams entitled Island Inspiration was curated, which explored the connection both artists had with Anglesey.


Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, R.A. (1901-1979)

An ancient tumbler pigeon

inscribed ‘ANCIENT./ Wing crests should be white. Black on breast reaches too far down. Flanks should be/ pure white’ (lower right) 

with studio stamp ‘CHARLES TUNNICLIFFE R.A. STUDIO 1980, no. 397/20’ (on the reverse)

pencil and bodycolour

 9 1/2 x 10 5/8 in. (24.2 x 27 cm.)

with frame 14 x 16 in. (35.6 x 40.7 cm.)


Please note that artist’s resale right at 4% is applicable to the price of this work.


Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, R.A. (1901-1979) 

A Berlin short-faced tumbler pigeon

indistinctly inscribed ‘BERLIN SHORT-FACED TUMBLER./

T. Forshaw [?]’ (lower right) 

with with studio stamp ‘CHARLES TUNNICLIFFE R.A. STUDIO 1980 NO. 403/20’ (on the reverse) 

pastel, pencil and bodycolour

9 1/2  x 10 1/4 in. (24.2 x 26.8 cm.)

with frame 14 1/8 x 14 3/4 in. (35.9 x 37.5 cm.)


Please note that artist’s resale right at 4% is applicable to the price of this work.

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