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A Tortoise

Date made: 1986-1987

Description: A blue chalk drawing of a giant tortoise. This piece was inspired by Bryan Kneale’s work on the bone collections at the Natural History Museum in London in 1986, and was one of a series of large scale drawings he produced of animal skeletons.

Manx artist Juan Moore says: "Of all the wonderful artworks Manx National Heritage has in their collection, amidst all the portraits of the dead nobility of the island, pretty landscapes and violent seascapes, my favourite thing has to be Bryan Kneale's Tortoise drawing. For a start it is not a living tortoise, it’s a dead one or rather a skeletal version of one. It’s drawn in blue which, to me gives it the feel of a working drawing or preliminary sketch, but the image itself is really big which makes me think a bit more time has been spent on it than your average prelim sketch.

I love drawing and it’s a pleasure to see it at this size. I tend to work very small, so it’s the size of the thing that impresses me, but also even though the image is of a dead thing and it’s drawn in blue, it feels warm and somehow honest. Kneale hasn't hidden behind any fancy rendering techniques here, it’s a bare bones drawing (no pun intended) it is what it is. The artist clearly did it because he wanted to do it. this is not a drawing done with a buyer in mind, this is drawing done because the artist felt like it.

So I think at the end of the day the reason I like it is because it's a bit weird, it feels warm to me. It's honest and it's big! With the exception of being big, these are all things I try to aspire to with my own work."

Materials: paper

Object name: drawing

Collection: Art Collection

ID number: 1992-0187


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