Birding and Sporting Art: 21st Century Update
On June 22nd I was invited to the Rountree Tryon Gallery for the Charles Stanley Summer party. I hadn’t been to the Gallery for many years, perhaps when Aylmer was still alive; the collection has widened a bit since his inspired limitation of subject to sporting and wildlife.
My particular interest is in bird painters and I found an enchanting little Thorburn in the back of the gallery, featuring ducks. I note from the website that they have number of distinguished bird painters in their collection. I am personally interested in Harry Bright, a 19th century illustrator whose bird paintings I have collected for several years. In my view, he is as good as Thorburn where the subject is similar, in some respects better, but I am not aware he ever took an interest in sporting subjects. It is in this respect of course that Thorburn so engaged his English public and his popularity has still not waned.
Aylmer Tryon was as active in his sporting life as he was in his chosen profession and I believe he was responsible for the group who inaugurated the English interest in the River Hofsa in Iceland.
I once spent a very happy week there with friends in the late summer. The river was as seductive as are all rivers, but allied to the flat landscape, the breadth of the sky and the birds, so unused to human presence that they lacked any fear, I found something very special about Iceland. And we did catch fish!
The ducks remain in their gallery – Thorburn’s popularity has become exceedingly expensive, but it was a lovely party.
Jacqueline Duncan, Dean