This film is part of Free

Malltraeth: birds observed

Anglesey-based artist Charles Tunnicliffe swaps brushes for a camera and offers us the chance to look a cormorant in its emerald-green eye.

Home movie 1955 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


A cinematic ‘sketchbook’ of flora and fauna. Acclaimed wildlife artist Charles F Tunnicliffe, living at Malltraeth, captures wonderfully close-up footage of a group of fancy pigeons [he painted such pigeons for Thomas Forshaw, Sheriff of Anglesey 1944], a cormorant with emerald eye, a corvid, a herring gull, beautiful swans and 2 young birds of prey. A horned black cow and a sedum plant making itself at home on a roof also feature.

It was evident from a young age that Tunnicliffe (1901-79) had a gift for drawing. From a farm in Cheshire he won scholarships to the Macclesfield School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. He worked as a wood engraver and etcher, a teacher and an illustrator for Ladybird books and Brooke Bond tea cards. He also illustrated books by e.g. Alison Uttley and Henry Williamson. He married Winifred Wonnacott (1902-69), a fellow RCA scholarship student from Holywood, Belfast, and they moved to ‘Shorelands’, a bungalow by the Cefni estuary, Malltraeth, in 1947. Their friends included naturalists T G ‘Wack’ Walker, Norman ‘Nomad’ Ellison, Ted Breeze Jones (also a photographer) and artist Kyffin Williams.