Study of a CurlewArtist:
, British, 1753 - 1828
, British, 1806 - 1893
Material and Medium: pencil on paper
Dimensions: Support: 134 x 164mm
Accession Number: CGSG00471
This is an original drawing for an illustration in Bewick’s book 'Birds of Britain', Volume II, called ‘A History and Description of Water Birds’, published in 1804. Each bird in it has a small vignette illustration in woodcut, but the book is famous also for its small illustrations of everyday life, known as the ‘tailpieces’.
Ruskin admired Bewick’s woodcut illustrations saying 'Tthe execution of the plumage in Bewick's birds is the most masterly thing ever yet done in woodcutting’. He described how he was one of the rare artists who could represent 'many features with few lines'. Ruskin also respected Bewick for showing scenes of rural life and ignoring the nobility in his books (unlike most bird books of the time, which set out to charm the rich), because Bewick, a farmer's son, represented the life he knew, rather than what he imagined.