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J.C. Bell (1823-1892)
Ptarmigan 1863
oil on canvas
35.5 x 68 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1935


Born 1823, England. Died 1892.

John Christopher Bell was a British painter of sporting subjects, animals, game and genre scenes, based in the Scarborough region of North Yorkshire. He exhibited at the Society of British Artists from 1857-68. This was an art body established in 1823 as an alternative to the Royal Academy, and is now known as the Royal British Art Society (RBA), whose past Presidents have included James McNeill Whistler and Sir Frank Brangwyn.

This work features two white game birds of the grouse family on the edge of a high cliff. We see the distant landscape of mountains on the left during sunset. A single dropped feather with a spot of red creates interest in the foreground study of spindly plants to the right of the ptarmigans. The birds appear like museum taxidermy specimens, as the position of the clouds suggests an impressive height.

In 1939 this work was featured in the first floor alcove of the Armidale Teachers' College.