Barnacle Geese by Archibald Thorburn


Barnacle Geese


Archibald Thorburn

Ref GM352
Type Fine Art Print
Image Size 20" x 14" (50 x 36 cm)
Price Add to basket
Archibald Thorburn wrote: “Looking at things with the eye of the ordinary lover of nature, one can only attempt to represent with brush and pencil the wonderful beauty of the living creatures around us. The chief essential is to acquire the faculty of observing and noting down the many subtle differences in toes and little tricks of habit in different species, and this knowledge can only be obtained by patient watching.” The Barnacle Goose is a medium sized goose with a black head, neck and breast, and a creamy white face, contrasting with a plainer white belly. It is a sociable goose, flying in packs and long lines, with a noisy chorus of barking or yapping sounds. Barnacle geese breed mainly on the arctic islands of the North Atlantic and often build their nests high on mountain cliffs, away from predators. The bird’s unusual name derives from the fable that barnacle geese were produced from barnacles, the small shell-like creatures which grow on timber exposed to salt water. This belief stemmed from the fact that geese were never seen in summer, when they were supposedly developing under water (they were in fact breeding in remote arctic regions). Barnacles and geese shared similar black and white colours and appeared in different seasons; though the belief seems unusual, it was an important part of medieval cuisine because it enabled Catholics to classify barnacle geese as fish and therefore to eat their flesh during Lent.