TUNNICLIFFE, Charles Frederick

Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe      British (1901-1979)

Artist, etcher and wood engraver, work representing country life and animals.  Charles Tunnicliffe was born in Cheshire, on 1 December 1901, he grew up on a farm in nearby Sutton. He studied briefly at Macclesfield School of Art, in 1915, at the age of 14, before moving to Manchester School of Art, in the same year. In 1921, he won a Royal Exhibition Scholarship to the Royal College of Art (1921-25); there he met Malcolm Salaman, who helped him launch his career as a print maker. He was elected an associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1929, and full member in 1934.

For four years, from 1925 to 1928, he taught design and poster work as a part-time member of staff at Woolwich Polytechnic, while living at Waltham Green. In 1928, Tunnicliffe returned to Cheshire and settled in Macclesfield. After his marriage in 1929, he became a freelance artist and produced commercial work for firms involved in farming, while also painting and printmaking.
In 1932, Tunnicliffe made his name with wood engravings and illustrating, he started to get regular work and commissions for illustrations. It was through the 1930s, that he established himself as an artist, exhibiting engravings at the Royal Academy (annually from 1928 to 1970) and holding his first solo show, at the Greatorex Galleries in London (1938). During the Second World War, while teaching art at Manchester Grammar School, he began to write his own books, publishing My Country Book (1942) and Bird Portraiture (1945). In 1944, he was elected an associate of the Royal Academy.
Following the war, the Tunnicliffes settled near the Caefni Estuary at Malltraeth, near Bodorgan, Anglesey, where they lived for the rest of their lives. In his later years, he received a number of honours: he was elected a Royal Academician and a Vice-President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (both 1954); he was made Vice-President of the Society of Wildlife Artists (1968); he was awarded the gold medal of the RSPB (1975); and he received an OBE (1978).

His work is represented in numerous public collections, including Manchester Art Gallery and West Park Museum (Macclesfield); and The National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth) and Oriel Ynys Môn (Llangefni, Anglesey).

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TUNNICLIFFE, Charles Frederick
Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe etching ‘Carting Hay’

TUNNICLIFFE, Charles Frederick
Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe etching ‘The New Rick’