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Print

Print

  • Place of origin:

    France (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1959 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ciry, Michel, born 1919 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sepia pen and wash on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Walter Strachan

  • Museum number:

    E.229-1994

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case I, shelf 6, box E

This pen and wash drawing by Michel Ciry (born 1919) was the third to come into the collection of prints, drawings and paintings of owls belonging to poet and scholar Walter Strachan (1903-1994). Strachan owned several books illustrated by Ciry, who was also an engraver and typesetter.

Poet and scholar Walter Strachan (1903-1994) was fascinated by the art of the book. His interest was inspired by a visit to an exhibition of artists’ books at the National Gallery in London in May 1945. In due course he wrote many articles on the subject, as well as a major reference work, The Artist and the Book in France (published 1969); he also encouraged successive Keepers of the National Art Library at the V&A “to buy them for England.” To this end he visited France every year, to meet the artists, and acquired proof pages to illustrate his articles and to show to potential purchasers of the books, including the V&A. Over the years he amassed a collection of images of owls; some of these were illustrations from livres d’artistes, and others were designed especially for him as gifts or greetings. The collection of owls began with a visit to the artist Roger Chastel (1897-1981) in 1952, where he witnessed the printing of Le Bestiaire de Paul Eluard. In a subsequent article (“Genesis and Growth of a Collection”, for Connoisseur, 1972) he explained: “My article on Chastel’s Bestiaire had the happy result of bringing me a special print on Auvergne paper of the owl which I had admired in the book. Contacts in the art-world of Paris are close and friendly, and I was marked down as an owl-man, in consequence of which I have gradually been given dedicated owl prints and originals in every medium from pen and ink to enamel…”

Physical description

Owl on a branch in black sketchy line against a grey and black wash background.

Place of Origin

France (probably, made)

Date

1959 (made)

Artist/maker

Ciry, Michel, born 1919 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Sepia pen and wash on paper

Marks and inscriptions

pour W.J. Strachan / en toute amitié MICHEL CIRY 59
Signed and dated in ink?, lower left.

Dimensions

Height: 30.9 cm, Width: 23 cm

Object history note

This forms part of a collection of prints, drawings and paintings of owls bequeathed to the V&A by Walter Strachan (1903-1994). Strachan, a scholar and collector of Livres d'Artistes, became friendly with a large number of artists, who, on hearing that he had a fondness for owls, began sending him images to add to his collection.

Descriptive line

Sepia pen and wash drawing, owl, by Michel Ciry, 1959.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Strachan, Walter J. Graphic owls from France: variations on a theme in an English private collection. Connoisseur. Aug. 1972. pp.240-247.

Production Note

Reason For Production: Private

Materials

Pen and ink; Wash; Paper

Techniques

Drawing

Subjects depicted

Owl

Categories

Drawings; Images Online

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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