Archibald Thorburn (1860-1935) was an artist in late 19th century Scotland, well known today for his depictions in watercolor of the wild birds and natural history of the highlands and coastal areas of the British Isles. Today his genuine watercolor paintings of ptarmigan, grouse, pheasant, ducks, widgeon and other wild birds bring tens of thousands of Pounds at auction------not long ago, an exceptional painting, of a peacock, brought in the vicinity of $400,000, but results in the $50,000 range are not at all unusual, and prices have escalated sharply in recent years. Thorburn was the son of a miniaturist for Queen Victoria. By 1887 he had received a commission to paint 268 watercolors of birds, and it was this commission that truly launched his career. He exhibited for many years at the Royal Academy and was close friends with many other bird illustrators. The present work is an original watercolor likely created by an artist who had seen a reproduction of Thorburn's work "Game Birds and Wild-Fowl of Great Britain and Ireland". At lower right is written "after A. Thorburn" with the initials "H.G." below that. The work is on heavy paper, laid long ago on a board. On the reverse framing paper is a rubber stamp of a gallery in Durban (South Africa), so, this piece has traveled far and wide, likely from Britain to South Africa to California. The drawing was likely created late in the 19th century or early in the 20th. Measures 11" by 15" and 17" by 21" as framed. It is in excellent condition considering its age and travels, with just a 1" wide band at top browned from long contact with the mat. The frame is in good condition. The old-style gold mat should probably be replaced, unless you like the original look of the entire package as-is. The drawing and board on which it is mounted are themselves then affixed to the backing board. This is a really convincing work that brings the look of Thorburn's mastery without the five figure price tag!
Watercolor painting of game birds in landscape after Scottish artist Archibald Thorburn