Colour Our Collections: ‘Studies of Hens’ by William Mulready.

Our colouring sheet of William Mulready’s Studies of Hens, available to download as a pdf. at the bottom of this page.

This is one of the first colouring sheets created by a member of our Visitor Team from a piece in our collections as part of the Colour Our Collections project, which was started by Hannah and Steph. We wanted to provide our visitors with new, creative ways to interact with and enjoy our collections and so Colour Our Collections was born.

We particularly love the plumage sported by the hens on their heads in this piece! This work holds a special place in our hearts because it was used a practice run to see if we could accomplish creating colouring sheets from the Whitworth’s collections.

The original drawing was created by Irish artist William Mulready (1786-1863), who is best known for his paintings of rural scenes, on 14/09/1824. We know this because the original has been signed and dated by the artist, which is not always the case with study drawings in our collection. We found it hard to make out the signature and date on the collections image we have of this piece, although thankfully the curators have helpfully made a note of it in their catalogue entry for the piece online, so the decision was made to not attempt to trace it.

William Mulready (1786-1863), Studies of Hens, drawn 14/09/1824, pen and ink on paper. Accession number: D.1895.37 Source: the Whitworth

Study drawings are usually done by artists in preparation for another piece or to simply practice drawing certain forms.

Our colouring sheet of ‘Studies of Hens’ was created by Hannah carefully hand tracing an image of the original. We then scanned the tracing and edited the resulting pdf. file to create a colouring sheet. The process of hand tracing can be slow-going but it’s a great way to capture some of the finer details of a piece, which could otherwise be easily missed. Hand tracing can be a very relaxing process- so it’s also a great way to practice mindfulness!

Our preferred tools are drawing pens, particularly Sakura Pigma Micron pens. The fine points are perfect for tracing very fine details and the ink is archival ink- making it waterproof and light fast.

We intend to create colouring sheets from other kinds of works in addition to study drawings, such as some of the prints, textiles and wallpapers in the Whitworth’s collections. We hope to provide a mix of more detailed and simple colouring sheets to suit as many people as possible. After all, colouring isn’t just a fun activity for children!

You can download a pdf version of the colouring sheet of Mulready’s ‘Studies of Hens’ free below.

We hope you enjoy colouring our collections! –Hannah and Steph

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