Grouse in Flight & English Partridges in Flight (c.1935)
JOHN CYRIL HARRISON (1898-1985)
A pair of watercolours; both signed bottom right
In a pair of extremely rare (probably unique) period faux tortoiseshell frames
John Cyril Harrison was born in Wiltshire in 1898. He began drawing as a boy; he also studied and sketched bird life, and learnt anatomy from the practise of taxidermy. After the Great War, he studied art at the Slade School of Art. He regularly visited Scotland, often in the company of the naturalist Seton Gordon (1886-1977), whose book ‘Days with the Golden Eagle’, he illustrated in 1927. He illustrated many other books, with Bird Portraits being the only book he both wrote and illustrated.
He travelled widely in South Africa, Portuguese East Africa and in Iceland, all experiences which had an impact on his artistic output. He was probably the first artist to specialise in depicting birds in flight and made a special study of the characteristic flight of different species. Where other artists had previously failed to make their birds look alive, let alone flying, he succeeded in the particularly difficult task of convincingly portraying a bird flying directly towards the viewer.
John Cyril Harrison’s work has been offered at auction multiple times, the record price for this artist at auction is 52,384 USD for The Take-Off, sold at Bonhams, New Bond Street in 2012.