THORBURN, ARCHIBALD. [Brown Wood Owl.] Watercolor and gouache on heavy grey stock signed "A. Thorburn" at lower left. with an additional sketch on the verso: a watercolor study of "Separate bones of the hind limb of Young Fowl" with each bone neatly labeled in pencil and a lengthy description of the extremity in ink. 14 1/2x10 3/4 inches sheet size; faint mat stain, minor residue or abrasions to verso edges from a previous mounting. [Europe, circa 1885-1890]
Accomplished watercolor portrait of a sturdy-looking strix genus with its mate perched on a branch in an alpine background. This species of owl is generally found in southeastern Asia, but the Scottish painter has placed him somewhat curiously in a boreal landscape, perhaps working from an imported specimen. The drawing is similar in composition to the lithographed plates after Thorburn which are found in Lord Lilford's "Coloured Figures of the Birds of the British Islands", but the present work appears to be unpublished.