John Tunnard

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John Tunnard
Aerial Disturbance, 1946
Pencil and gouache on paper
36 x 55 cm
Signed, dated and inscribed 'John Tunnard '46, W26', lower left

The Artist
Lefevre Gallery, London, January 1947
Dalzell Hatfield Galleries, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
Private Collection, U.K. (purchased from the above, May 1980)

Painter of abstracts, landscapes and marines in gouaches and oils; textile designer. Son of J.C. Tunnard, he studied design and the RCA from 1919-23, and worked as a textile designer from 1923-9. In 1926 he married Mary Robertson and in 1929 he started to paint, visiting Cornwall in 1930-2 and moving there in 1933.

He exhibited first at the RA (becoming ARA in 1967), and at the London Group where he exhibited regularly and became a member in 1934. His first solo exhibition was at the Redfern Gallery, London in 1933 and he continued to exhibit in London galleries, including the Guggenheim Jeune and McRoberts & Tunnard Ltd. More »

John Tunnard
Threat, 1946
Watercolour, pencil and gouache on paper
36 × 55 cm

Serving as an auxiliary coastguard in Cornwall, during World War II, John Tunnard spent hours watching shipping at sea. His paintings are suffused with forms derived from or invented as a result of this experience: seascapes alive with objects resembling masts, rotors and weathervanes.

In Aerial Disturbance (1946), Tunnard creates washes of colour to suggest sand, sea and sky, overlaid with spikes meshed with fronds of weed. Between the foreground and middle distance, strange white forms – hybrids of sea purses, sails or birds – fly from shore to sky.