Study for Ethel’s Chooks


Study for Ethel’s Chooks Pen & Ink with Watercolour 40cm x 32cm

Original artwork by William T Cooper AO (1934-2015)


The rooster in this painting is a rare breed called a Faverolles.

Faverolles are one of our favourite chicken breeds. They’re wonderfully odd-looking, with muffs, a beard, feathered feet and five toes. Salmon Faverolles are the most commonly available variety. Hens are beautiful, with snowy breasts and fluffy white faces: their backs are a lovely honeyed salmon colour with white lacing. Roosters are huge and magnificent, parading around with a virtual rainbow of colours: iridescent black where the hens are white, burnished with bronze on their backs and wings, while their hackles and saddles the colour of pale straw. Faverolles roosters are particularly calm and dignified, and make great roosters for the home flock since they are not as aggressive as some others. The hens lay medium-sized light brown or creamy eggs in prolific numbers, and they are good winter layers, too. They are shy and sweet-natured, but so docile that they tend to find themselves at the bottom of the pecking order in a mixed flock. Bill’s neighbour “Ethel” owned these and Bill had great pleasure painting them.

He is known throughout the world for his paintings; The Australian and New Guinean and Nigerian Governments have bought and displayed his original paintings produced for his earlier books.  David Attenborough has produced documentaries on his work.  The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia gave him a rare accolade by presenting him with gold medal for distinction in natural history art.  He was the first Australian to be given such an award.  The academy does not invite competition for the medal and awards, it only periodically, after scanning the globe for someone “whose artistic endeavours have contributed to mankind”.  Books have occupied most of Mr. Cooper’s working life for the past 30 years.  He has published major works on “Birds of Paradise and Bower Birds”, “Parrots of the World”, “Australian Parrots”, and “Kingfishers”.  These are equivalent to John Gould’s famous books.  Bill Coopers paintings have set a new standard for excellence for scientific publications.  His paintings are described as modern monuments to science and art. Bill passed away in 2015.


Click image to view FULL SIZE PAINTING

In stock