Programme of events to honour Macclesfield painter Charles Tunnicliffe

  Posted: 20.10.21 at 14:51 by Alexander Greensmith

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A series of events have been announced to honour Macclesfield artist Charles Tunnicliffe, ahead of 120 years since his birth.

The Langley-born, Sutton-raised and Macc-educated painter was known across the world for his work with wildlife.

To celebrate his work, the Macclesfield Cultural Forum is launching a series of ‘Inspired by Nature’ events in the winter months.

From December 1 through to spring next year, Cheshire East Council will be co-ordinating events delivered by the cultural forum at venues across Macclesfield.

The forum will be presenting an exciting programme of creative events to celebrate the life and work of Charles Tunnicliffe, ’an English genius’.

Born in Macclesfield in December 1901, Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe remains one of Britain’s most popular artists of the natural world.

Described as a ‘countryman, through and through’, his work reflects his love of nature and the inspiration of his Macclesfield farming background.

Tunnicliffe trained at the Macclesfield School of Art before winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, London. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1944.

His beautiful artworks were recognised by Brooke Bond, which featured them as collectable cards within their tea, giving them wide coverage and renown.

'Shire Stallion' by the Langley-born creative.

However, he is probably best known for his illustrations in the Henry Williamson novel ‘Tarka the Otter’.

His Dad William was from Lane Ends Farm in Sutton, and made boots and shoes. It was there where Charles fell in love with nature, who would be the subjects of his best-loved artworks.

Charles attended Sutton St. James' C.E. Primary School and then attended the Macclesfield School of Art aged 15 in 1916.

The Langley lad then put Macclesfield on the map by winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London.

He married a Northern Irish art student in Manchester in 1929, and left our town. He died in 1979 aged 77, just three months after celebrating his 77th birthday.

In celebration of the anniversary of what would have been his 120th year, Macclesfield organisations are featuring events linked to Tunnicliffe’s artwork.

The artist's piece called 'A Snowy Owl, Anglesey', which was where the Macclesfield-born artist died.

Macclesfield Town Council recently hosted its Tunnicliffe-themed Nature Welly Walk, with the Macclesfield Museums providing children’s nature-based etching activity at West Park.

Over the coming months, the Cultural forum – which has brought together Cheshire East Council, Macclesfield Town Council, The Silk Museum, LIT festival, Macclesfield Library and Cheshire Archives and Local Studies – will be working to produce exhibitions, talks and creative workshops that explore Tunnicliffe’s passion for nature.

The sessions will also aim to bring his work up to date with a virtual reality trail, a flora and fauna light trail across the town centre and a schools’ competition.

Councillor Nick Mannion, chair of Cheshire East Council’s economy and growth committee, said: “Although his paintings go right back to the early part of the 20th century, the work of Charles Tunnicliffe can still be a great inspiration to young people today aspiring to get involved in art themselves.

“These town-centre activities encourage people to familiarise themselves with the work of someone whose roots are very much in the local area and to explore their own creative potential.”

One of the family-friendly activities that will be taking place is an augmented reality trail. Artist Jacki Clark is holding a drawing workshop in the Silk Museum this Saturday (23 October) for children, who will be able to use Tunnicliffe’s artwork as an inspiration for their own drawings.

A selection of the drawings from these sessions will be included in the trail.

A permanent display of Tunnicliffe images will be installed at sites that relate to his work around Macclesfield town centre next year.

The events should also provide healing to our town and Macclesfield Museum, who had valuable Charles Tunnicliffe artefacts stolen earlier this year.

The late artist worked with watercolour painting, etching, aquatint, oil paintings and wood engraving among others materials.

The forthcoming celebrations of his work will be catharsis for Macclesfield Museums, who had multiple items stolen to do with Tunnicliffe in the summer.

A full itinerary of the planned activities for what would've been Tunnicliffe's 120th can be found here.

Macclesfield Nub News has contacted Sutton Parish Council, which also includes the ward of Langley, for further comment on how they will be commemorating 120th.

Macclesfield Nub News will be producing a series of articles celebrating the Langley artist in the run up to December 1.

Macclesfield West and Ivy Labour councillor Nick Mannion is an admirer of Charles' work.

If you can't wait until then, you can read more about Tunnicliffe's life here.

Elsewhere in local art, earlier this week we spoke to an illustrator who has made a pair of Christmas cards for Macclesfield.

Please click here to read that story.

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