Francisco Andrade

Ripples from The House on Shore exhibition in Sunderland

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Brownsea Island Lagoon Layout, by Eric Ennion. Author's photograph

Brownsea Island Lagoon Layout, by Eric Ennion. Author’s photograph, images are copyright of the Estate of E.A.R Ennion.

The Art Gallery in Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is home to a temporary exhibit dedicated to the painted works of Dr. Eric Ennion, one of the most relevant english wildlife artists and promoter of birdwatching.

Ripples from the House on the Shore celebrates the work of Ennion, an artist, author and illustrator that moved to Northumberland to found the renowned Monk’s House Observatory, which is located in one of most beautiful places to appreciate winged fauna, as visitors to the Sunderland Museum may have already seen.

The House on the Shore is a direct reference to Ennion’s book from 1960, which can be found in display right in the beginning of the gallery, and it sets the tone for a very natural and calm experience. Visitors are introduced to Ennion’s world very quickly, with displays of his experiments with trapping waders and mist-nets that allowed him to protect, observe and better draw different species of birds in his studies and graphic diaries. In his work, Eric Ennion is known to have written over ten books on the species of birds that can be found and seen in England, especially along the Eastern areas.

Known to be an exquisite observer, Ennion did not just draw for pleasure or the capture the birds’ plumage but also to understand their behaviour and record their action. He was famous for inspiring many art students and naturalists, and in some of the drawings that are showed in the exhibition visitors can see some notes that the artist wrote on the side on how to better recreate said animals. The moment was so important to him that it would be better to draw quickly than with scale and precision, for these could be enemies to the eye.

“I have vivid memories of tours to the Farnes with Eric drawing like mad, while everyone else struggled with cameras. I wonder who saw the most?”  John Busby, Living Birds of Eric Ennion.

With these words, it is easy to imagine Eric Ennion’s passion, and after a visit to the Ripples from the House on the Shore exhibition, that passion of wildlife and the northern landscape can linger on to the public and set your mind at ease from a busy week. The closer you will get from visiting Northumberland, we guarantee it.

The exhibition started on September 26 and it can be seen until December 13.

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