Magpie Song

Magpie Song

Magpie Song


An original painting in watercolour and inks, size 420mm x 570mm. The painting comes to you unframed. Prices includes P&P to UK addresses.

Prints are available at size A2. Each print is signed by the artist and comes to you rolled in a postal tube.

Digital copies are available for you to print at a format and size of your choice. Read more…



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About Magpie Song

Magpie Song is a painting in watercolour and Indian ink illustrating the traditional rhyme which goes:

One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told
Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss
Ten for a bird you must not miss.

The European magpie (Pica pica) is a species of crow, and as with all corvids, they are incredibly intelligent. They can recognise themselves in a mirror, proof of self-awareness. In folklore they are reckoned to be attracted to shiny objects, but there is no scientific proof for them being bling thieves. In my painting Magpie Song I have illustrated 10 birds from all angles to make the most of their gorgeous plumage and glossy, long tails. For a black and white bird, they are amazingly colourful – their plumage can appear green, blue and purple in certain light.

They live in loose family groups and can often be seen in some numbers (at least where I live!)

Some people consider them to be a bird of ill omen, but this is a daft superstition. Fake news! One magpie is always a joy.

Collective nouns for magpies are many – a tidings, a mischief, a charm, a flock, a gulp, a murder, a tittering, a conventicle, a tribe or a congregation. Take your pick! I like ‘mischief’. You have to be clever to make mischief and these glorious birds are exactly that.

The magpie is a significant symbol in the BBC TV series “Detectorists” – of which I am a huge fan. At the end of episode 1, series 2, is this magical 4 minute sequence featuring a song by The Unthanks. The Unthanks take the original Magpie Song lyrics and amend them.

Signed prints of my painting Magpie Song  at size A2 are available now.

If you love corvids, please also see my painting British Crows and Quoth the Raven Nevermore.

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