Eagle Owl signed and dated 'A.Thorburn/1917.' (lower left) watercolour and bodycolour 27.5 x 18cm (10 13/16 x 7 1/16in).
PROVENANCE: with Tryon Gallery, London
LITERATURE: John Southern, Thorburn's Landscape, The Major Natural History Paintings, Elm Tree Books, London 1981, pl. XXXIII p. 76.
'Although this was almost certainly a private commission for a small picture of an Eagle Owl, Thorburn deftly tells us something of the life of the bird as well. The lovely subtle background wash, capturing so well the hushed sunset over the forest, sets the scene for the nightly emergence of the owl from the woodland to hunt.
The Eagle Owl, only a rare visitor to Britain, is a bird of the wooded and mountainous areas of northern Europe, breeding as far north as the Arctic Circle in Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Russia. The largest of the owls, its immense strength renders it capable of capturing and killing young deer, as well as hares and squirrels, and it can overpower birds as large as the capercaillie without undue difficulty.'
John Southern, Thorburn's Landscape, The Major Natural History Paintings, Elm Tree Books, London 1981, p. 76.