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Julia's Walk (Part 4) - Tunnicliffe's Malltraeth, Artists' town: Kirkcudbright

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5.    Tunnicliffe’s Malltraeth

See the island haven that inspired one of our greatest wildlife artists

Description: See the island haven that inspired one of our greatest wildlife artists

See the island haven that inspired one of our greatest wildlife artists

In the late 1940s, renowned wildlife illustrator Charles Tunnicliffe moved home from England to the wilds of Malltraeth on the Isle of Anglesey, where his studio overlooked the Cefni Estuary.

His work included illustrating the 1932 edition of Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter and Mary Priestley’s A book of Birds (1937). Tunnicliffed resided at his home Shorelands for the rest of his life, water, marsh and farmland with its amazing wildlife. While living here, he want on to illustrate Ladybrid books and RSPB magazine covers, thus encouraging new generations of naturalists. After his death in 1979, Anglesey Borough Council purchased most of his personal collection of sketchbooks, measured drawings and other works, which are now housed at the Oriel Ynys Mon Gallery at nearby Llangefni.

Description: While living here, he want on to illustrate Ladybrid books and RSPB magazine covers, thus encouraging new generations of naturalists.

While living here, he want on to illustrate Ladybrid books and RSPB magazine covers, thus encouraging new generations of naturalists.

The following walk overlooks the Cefni Estuary, where you may spot some of the species of wildlife Tunnicliffe featured in his work.

6.    Artists’ town: Kirkcudbright

Dumfries and Galloway

Visit this delightful town on the Galloway coasts and you’ll be itching to pick up your paintbrush.

With a population of around 3,500 people, the merry Galloway coastal town of Kirkcudbright (pronounced ‘kir-coo-bree’) punches well above its weight when it comes to artistic endeavours. The town has seven art galleries within its medieval confines, each exhibiting and selling an eclectic range of art produced by an equally diverse range of painters, illustrators and sculptures, many of whom live and work in the town. This had led to Kirkcudbright becoming known as The Artist’s Town.

Description: Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway

Bu why the close correlation between Kirkcudbright and art? In the 14th and 15th centuries, agriculture, fishing and the exporting of cloth were important in establishing the town as a center for trade, but is what during the 18th century, with the advent of rail travel, that the tourist trade started in earnest and visitors began to appreciate the scenic beauty of Kirkcudbright.

A honeypot for artists

During the 19th and 20th centuries a number of celebrated artist, such as EA Hornel, Charles Oppenheimer, Jessie King and EA Taylor garnered much inspiration from the gorfeous scenery, the wildlife and, most significantly, the quality of light to produce some of the period’s most enduring paintings. Therefore the relationship between Kirkcudbright and art is not recent phenomenon and today those same elements continue to attract creative types.

Description: Kirkcudbright

Kirkcudbright

Picture perfect market town

Once here, you do not need to stay from this little Galloway town to revel in the joys of art. The chance to visit a studio and watch an artist at work, or to view colorful canvasses in a local gallery, is a worthwhile amble on an afternoon. For the artist themselves the allure of the charming market square, which is bordered in three sides by attractive pastel-colored houses and shops, and the 16th-century remains of McLellan’s Castle, makes them want to pick up a pencil and sketch.

Description: McLellan’s Castle

McLellan’s Castle

Or the town’s bustling working harbor, where the textures and vibrant colors of the boats are just crying out to be portrayed by the broad strokes of an oil paint-laden brush, while the likes of oystercatcher, redshank and curlew, scuttling along the banks of the River Dee are readily depicted in soft sweeps of watercolor. It was from this very same port that the first Scottish emigrants left for Nova Scotia in Canada in 1622. What on earth were they thinking?

Description: River Dee

River Dee

As well as the town’s arty attractions, Kirkcudbright’s family-owned shops, museums, gardens and nearby coastal walking routes offer plenty of stimulation for body and soul.

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