Danger aloft - Ptarmigan signed and dated 'A.Thorburn/1927' (lower right) watercolour and bodycolour 52.5 x 75cm (20 11/16 x 29 1/2in).
PROVENANCE: Thorburn Museum, Liskeard, Cornwall Sale, Sotheby's London, Works by Archibald Thorburn from the Thorburn Museum, 31st March 1993, lot 57
EXHIBITED: London, Richard Green, Archibald Thorburn, 1986
LITERATURE: John Southern, Thorburns's Landscape, The Major Natural History Paintings, Elm Tree Books, London 1981, illus opposite p. 102. Thorburn's Birds and Mammals, David & Charles, Newton Abbot 1986, illus opposite p. 82.
REPRODUCED: Limited edition print published by The Tryon Gallery, 1975
'High amid the mists clinging to a hillside within the Forest of Gaick in Inverness-shire, a covey of ptarmigan feeds leisurely yet alert. A small herd of red deer have reached the shoulder of the hill in their restless, never-ending quest for food. A single stag has lagged behind, possibly old or sick, and saunters down from the summit to rejoin the others. Suddenly, out of the mists boiling up from the depths of the corrie, a golden eagle appears and the ptarmigan instantly crouch and 'freeze', their autumnal plumage blending to perfection with the boulders and herbage of this high place. They squat, motionless, trusting in their camouflage for survival, waiting for the danger to pass. The deer, also startled by the abrupt apparition of the eagle, stand and stare, mistrusting the huge bird gliding and soaring on outstretched wings above the ridge'
John Southern, Thorburns's Landscape, The Major Natural History Paintings, Elm Tree Books, London 1981 p. 102.