Antiques with Adam Partridge: Perfectly Illustrated

by Northern Life

Auctioneer Adam Partridge discovers the treasures that can lie between the pages of a book

Known for regular appearances on Flog It!, Bargain Hunt, Dickinson’s Real Deal and Cash In The Attic, and one of the UK’s finest antique experts and auctioneers – Adam Partridge opens the book on renowned illustrator Frederick Tunnicliffe

Adam Partridge

When you read a book, how often do you study the illustrations and think about the artist that created them. I would suggest that most of the time we don’t, we just take it for granted. When actually, if we stop and study the illustration, we would see how important their role is, the realistic image and interpretation of what they are illustrating could be the difference between the success or failure of the book, especially reference books.

Windhover Hunting

One of the best reference book illustrators I would argue is Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe OBE. RA (Royal Academy) born in 1901 in Langley, Macclesfield, and died in 1979 at his home in Anglesey.
He was an internationally renowned naturalistic painter of British birds and other wildlife. He spent most of his working life on the Isle of Anglesey. He is popularly known for his illustrations in the novel Tarka the Otter.
Charles Tunnicliffe used all types of mediums for his work including watercolour painting, etching and aquatint, wood engraving, woodcut, scraperboard (sometimes called scratchboard), and oil painting and if he was active today I am sure he would have adapted easily to digital art as well.

Sitting hare

“not only is it a fantastic collection but the majority have come from Tunnicliffe’s own studio”

It is always great to have a piece of his work consigned to auction but when Steven at our Preston valuation office got a call from Tunnicliffe’s great nephew saying they are interested in selling the family’s collection, through auction, we got a little excited, not only is it a fantastic collection but the majority have come from Tunnicliffe’s own studio as well as the family finding other additions.

Back of a Seated Male

There are 28 lots of etchings and wood engravings that will be in our May (24th-26th) auction in Macclesfield, various sizes and scenes which include farm animals like the Black Angus bull, countryside studies like ‘the Sitting Hare’, ‘Evans’ which was a life study of a back of a seated male, a large wood engraving titled Canadas in Cheshire, a wood engraving titled Windhover Hunting which was used in the book ‘The Sky’s Their Highway’ by Kenneth Williamson and an exciting discovery by the family of an engraving depicting a farmer bring in cattle, this is interesting because the catalogue Raisonne (a complete list of works by an artist) compiled by Robert Meyrick doesn’t list this etching but it has been confirmed by both Richard and Tunnicliffe’s family.

Cattle in Farmyard

What a great skilll it was to create such dramatic, exciting and factually correct – anatomical images. Each one a real treaure.

NorthernLife May/June 2023