Painted May in 2020 during lockdown this painting is more corvid than covid.
Greetings cards of this painting are coming soon!
Crows are all members of the corvid family and are the most intelligent of all birds. They are adaptable, think things through, have long memories, and use tools. They are also long-lived. A raven may live for 50 years or more. In my painting ‘British crows’ I have illustrated all eight species of corvid resident in the British Isles:
The raven (Corvus corax) is the largest crow – it’s the size of a buzzard! – at 64cm long. The make a kronking call, and when they fly you’ll see that their tails are splayed out like an open fan. They have massive thick bills, shaggy necks and – well – are generally massive!
The rook (Corvus frugilegus) is easily distinguished by its light grey bill and long baggy shorts. You may occasionally see an individual on its own, but generally they hang out in large numbers. They are 48cms long, just a bit bigger than a carrion crow
The carrion crow (Corvus corone) is 47cm long and is entirely black.
The hooded crow (Corvus cornix) is the same size as the carrion crow and only exist in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) is a rarer creature, now confined to Cornwall, the coasts of Wales and Scotland. They’re easy to recognise with their elegant bright red curved bills and smart red legs. They’re only 40cm long.
The magpie (Pica pica) is so distinctive with its striking black and white costume. They are 46cm long and a lot of that is their fantastically long tail.
Seen a huge pink bird? About 34cm long? Not sure what it was? It was the Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius). They really don’t like people so you’ll often see then flying away. They like the cover of woodlands.
The jackdaw (Corvus monedula) is smallest species of British crow. They’re easy to recognise with their grey hood. Where I live they hang out in huge numbers, swirling overhead in noisy colonies. Many live in church towers.
I have painted the crows according to their size (raven largest and jackdaw smallest), but not their precise relative size.
When you visit the University of Oxford’s Natural History Museum its a job to know where to look - at the marvellous exhibits? Or at the magnificent architecture? In this painting you'll spot a dodo, some dinosaur footprints, the swifts that nest in the tower, a dinosaur skeleton and so much more! My favourite bit is the frog in the jar. What's your's? The title comes from Charles Darwin's book 'The Origin of Species' in which he wrote of his theory of evolution by natural selection: "There is grandeur in this view of life..." The print is last one of a limited edition (of 4) hand-made drypoint tinted with watercolour - 450mm x 700mm.