Tuesday, 8 May 2012

John Tennent - Printmaker

It might seem a strange way to be inspired to post - but I was competing in our local fun run when I met a bird !!

Odd, possibly ? It was a typical British spring day, yes, wet and cold !! not ideal to run in, so after warming up and in an effort to keep warm and dry before the start, I found myself in a school hall were I saw a Barn Owl and a Tawny Owl.

They were just sitting there !!

No, they had not just flown in but were rescued birds with the local wildlife rescue charity helping to raise cash to feed their 14 fox cubs. Yes, I made my donation and had the privilege of stroking the Tawny Owl.

Tawny Owls by John Tennent (1926-1995) - Link

and so to ---

John Tennent (1926-1995)

Magpies - Silkscreen print 1971 - Link

John Tennent , as you can guess from these pictures was a birder !! he created many stunning images of animals and bird in their natural habitat. Although he was born in Singapore, he was educated in England and it was during his time at prep school that his interest in bird developed.

As a young man during WW2 he was conscripted as a "Bevan Boy" working in the coal mine. This was followed by reading geography at Oxford University and a career in the Colonial and Diplomatic Service. Despite his developing career he manage sometime studying at St Martin's School of Art during 1962 and whilst in Egypt he was able to arrange a debut solo exhibition at the Atelier Du Caire; Cairo in 1967. 
I think this must have been the tipping point, as in 1968 he decided to become a full time artist.

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers - Link

Over the years he successfully exhibited his work at the Wildfowl Trust, Medici Society, Clarges Gallery, Peter Potter Gallery and at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester. In 2006 a retrospective exhibition was held at the Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust.

Reed Warblers - Link

Apparently he was influenced by the work of Charles Tunnicliffe - but looking at the Barn Owl at the top, it just screams SEABY ?

Dunlin at High Tide - Linocut 1985


  1. I have a screen print of john tennents which i do love hanging on my wall. Ive had it for many yrs now, its called spring visitor and is a pheasent amongst some daffs and brambles. I have no wish to sell it but would you no, does it have a value other than me liking it.
    Many Thanks Steve.

    1. Thank you for the message - Sorry, I do not have an opinion on the value of your print - try an auctioneers. The only one I have owned, sold for under £50 - but this might have been just a bad day though !!

  2. Just bought two splendid Tennents for £30, so not much retail value but great value IMHO

  3. I stumbled across a tennent print signed by him with the date of 1976 the name of the print is brent geese numbered 22/80 I cant find anything on it. Does anyone have information on this print or steer me in the right direction