Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, OBE, RA (1901-1979, British)

Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe (1901-1979)Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, OBE, RA (1901-1979, British) was an engraver, illustrator and painter. He primarily painted birds, horses, dogs and other animals including cats.  Tunnicliffe, however, is most famously known for his realistic works of birds in their natural habitats and his involvement in illustrating various publications about them.

Born in 1901, Tunnicliffe spent his early years living on a farm in Langley, Macclesfield where his father was a tenant farmer. On the farm, he was able to observe wildlife, especially birds. In 1916, he began studying art at Macclesfield School of Art. He was then able to attend the Royal College of Art London on a scholarship.  In 1947, he moved to the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales where he remained until his death.

Tunnicliffe was equally adept at capturing cats in their everyday activities of relaxing or stalking prey. Tunnicliffe’s cats are active and alert and exude personality. His representations of Siamese cats are particularly elegant and sleek.

Stalking Siamese Cat, Charles F. Tunnicliffe

Stalking Siamese Cat

Harry Heuser, in a speech delivered at the Royal Academy of Art in London, said, “…His art is representational and designed to detail the wonder of the natural world as he saw it, but despite no intentional revelation of the ‘self’ in his works, they nevertheless retain his flavour. Tunnicliffe captured his subjects – whatever they were – in a particular way, noting not only their physical characteristics but also their actual presences as they moved through the world.”


Siamese cat on a branch, by Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe

Siamese cat on a branch

Tunnicliffe’s studio collection was acquired in 1981 by Anglesey County Council, and a museum and gallery for the purpose of exhibiting this body of work – Oriel Ynys Môn – was opened in 1991. It now contains other important works by Welsh artists in addition to those by Tunnicliffe.


A Siamese cat stalking a butterfly amongst bluebells - C F Tunnicliffe (1901-1979)

A Siamese cat stalking a butterfly amongst bluebells


Autumn Kitten Cats, Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe

Autumn Kitten Cats


Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe (1901-1979) Siamese in cat mint

Siamese in cat mint


Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, Siamese Cat Among the Grasses

Siamese Cat Among the Grasses


Siamese Cat in Autumn, Charles F. Tunnicliffe

Siamese Cat in Autumn


Siamese Cat, Charles F. Tunnicliffe

Siamese Cat


Siamese Cat Pencil Sketch, Charles Tunnicliffe

Siamese Cat Pencil Sketch


Tabby cat on a branch amongst blossom By Charles FrederickTunnicliffe; pencil and watercolour

Tabby cat on a branch amongst blossoms, pencil and watercolour


Tabby Cat Amongst Foliage, Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe

Tabby Cat Amongst Foliage

Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, Pencil Drawing of Cat

Pencil Drawing of Cat


Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe, Mother Cat and Kittens

Mother Cat and Kittens




Want to know more about the cat in art, history and literature? Then Revered and Reviled is the book for  you. Now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. 

Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats

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