Mounted signed print of a Jay bird in excellent condition. Signed in pencil by the artist, Archibald Thorburn in the lower left corner with the Fine Art Trade Guild stamp. Published 1921.
Archibald Thorburn FZS (1860-1935) was a Scottish watercolour artist that specialised in wildlife painting. He regularly visited Scotland to sketch birds in the wild. His widely reproduced images of British wildlife, with their evocative and dramatic backgrounds, are enjoyed as much today as they were by naturalists a century ago.
Archibald was born in Lasswade, Midlothian and was the fifth son of Robert Thorburn, who was a portrait miniaturist to Queen Victoria. Thorburn studied in Dalkeith and Edinburgh, and was then sent to St John’s Wood School of Art in London.
When his father died, he sought the guidance of Joseph Wolf. In 1887, he was commissioned to illustrate Lord Lilford’s Coloured Figures of the Birds of the British Isles. He painted over 268 watercolours, which established his reputation. He then illustrated numerous sporting and natural history books, including his own.
He went on to teach Otto Murray Dixon and Philip Rickman (both in Nature in Art’s collection), and he also encouraged the young Donald Watson when he came to visit him in Dumfries and Galloway.
Thorburn was friends with a few bird illustrators including George Edward Lodge and John Guille Millais, whom he collaborated on a number of works including: Natural History of British Feeding Ducks; British Diving Ducks and British Game Birds.
In the 1930s he refused to make use of electric lighting, preferring natural light for his painting, otherwise making use of lamps and candles.
His paintings were regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy and he designed their first Christmas card for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in 1899, a practice that he continued until 1935. He was Vice-President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
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