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Magpie Song

Magpie Song

Regular price £40.00
Regular price Sale price £40.00
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Magpie Song is a painting in watercolour and Indian ink illustrating the traditional rhyme.

  • An original painting in watercolour on 600gsm paper, size size 540 x 400mm
  • Digital file for you to make a print at a format and size of your choice
  • A2 size signed poster prints

The magpie song rhyme goes like this:

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.

About magpies

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.

Magpies 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.

Shipping and delivery

This website takes orders from UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

If you are not in these countries and you would like to make a purchase, please get in touch with me directly.

Posting your order

Typically, orders for physical products placed after 12pm on Friday, and on Saturday or Sunday will not be posted until Monday at the earliest. I use Royal Mail to dispatch your order.

If you have ordered multiple items, I will try to post everything together. Occasionally, this is not possible, in which case they will be dispatched in separate packages.

Digital files will typically be transferred to customers within 24 hours via email using WeTransfer, the file transfer website.

Buying an original painting? Please choose the tracked option!

UNITED KINGDOM (incl. Channel Islands, Isle of Man)

  • UK Royal Mail second class – 3 to 5 working days (can be longer at busy times of year)
  • UK Royal Mail tracked next day special delivery – next day by 1pm

If you choose a tracked delivery, I will be notified with your Royal Mail tracking number when your parcel has been dispatched.


IMPORTANT! All international orders are shipped duties unpaid. Orders shipped outside of the UK may be subject to customs, taxes and duties. This cost is the responsibility of the customer and is payable on receipt of goods. Please check your local customs tax and duty costs as duties must be paid before the goods are released.

Royal Mail International Tracked service (7-14 days)

Royal Mail International Tracked service (7-14 days)

EUROPE (Rep of Ireland, France, Germany and Denmark only)
Royal Mail International Tracked service (7-14 days)

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