Description & Technical information

In an account of the artist, published the year after his death, it was noted that ‘For many years Warwick Reynolds has been recognised as the illustrator par excellence of the animal story, and month by month the public has learnt to look for his vivid pictorial accompaniments to the prose of such writers as the late F. St. Mars and Mortimer Batten. Indeed, his output was amazing, and covered not only a wealth of illustration, but paintings and etchings that delighted the public and amazed his brother artists...It was, undoubtedly, the vogue of the animal story that eventually gave him his due and placed him in the front rank of illustrators…Pre-eminently a depicter of action, his more reposeful animal studies show quite as much fidelity as his most desperate duel scenes, or life and death races…[He was] a man who excelled – and revelled – in his work.’

This is a preparatory study for one of Reynolds’s full-page illustrations – with the caption ‘The Blue Hare – ‘Where None Dare Follow.’’ - in Harry Mortimer Batten’s book Habits and Characters of British Wild Animals, published in 1920. The blue hare or mountain hare (lepus timidus) is found in mountainous and polar regions across northern Europe and Asia. It is the only hare native to Britain, and is indigenous to the Highlands of Scotland. While their fur is a bluish-grey in summer, mountain hares change their colour in winter, turning their pelage white to be better camouflaged against the snow. As Batten writes, ‘Two thousand feet is probably the topmost altitude of the brown hare’s range…Above that the territory is sacred to the blue. Blue hares…observe no fixed rule as to boundary. The heights are theirs undividedly, but they are quite at home in the valleys…The blue hare is nothing like so speedy, nor is it so resolute in flight, as is the brown. A good sheep-dog can run it down – often without any great resistance on the part of the hare…a blue hare will den up readily if hard pressed – seeking safety in a cranny among the rocks or in a disused rabbit-burrow.’

Period:  Late 19th or early 20th century
Origin:  Islington
Medium: Pencil and charcoal, with touches of white heightening., Framing lines in pencil.
Signature: Signed WARWICK / REYNOLDS at the lower right.
Inscribed where none dare follow and Blue Hare in the lower margin.
Inscribed and numbered FAS 18916 [crossed out] 3655 on the verso.

Dimensions: 24.2 x 17.3 cm (9¹/₂ x 6³/₄ inches)
Provenance: The Fine Art Society, London
Private collection.

Literature: H. Mortimer Batten, Habits and Characters of British Wild Animals, London and Edinburgh, 1920, illustrated between pp.208-209.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints