Mock Moons 1942



JOHN TUNNARD (1900-1971)

Mock Moons 1942
Watercolour on paper
Signed and dated 1942

Following his work for the Festival of Britain, John Tunnard became more involved with science, natural history and space exploration. Tunnard was fascinated by the concept of space travel, collecting items relating to this subject until near the end of his life. His works of the sixties, the new age of space travel, concern the universe and infinite space, and as Michel Canney, the curator of the Pasmore Edwards Gallery in Newlyn writes: the vast distances in John Tunnard's paintings seem to herald the space age. (1)

With subtle graduations of colour and extraordinary texture, Tunnard found his own formula for articulating dimensions other than our own. Mock Moons is not a literal painting of space but drawn from an inner poetic vision, although as Jasia Reichardt recognized in his 1961 review, he did not totally disregard the physical world; Tunnard's usual world is based on the firm foundations of research, experiment and painstaking work.(2)

Dr Anthony Michaelis recalls how throughout the 60s Tunnard continued to gather first-hand accounts of spacecraft launches in the Apollo series. He acquired a magazine pullout about the Apollo 4 launch and a large poster of the moon's surface taken from Lunar Orbiter 2 on the 24 November 1966, 28.4 miles above the lunar surface. In 1969, the year of man's first moon landing Tunnard was one of the firsts to respond in paint.

1. Alan Peat, Brian A Whitton and Peter Nahum, John Tunnard His Life and Work, Scolar Press, 1997, illustrated page145, catalogue number 618
2. Ibid. p.117

Length 54.30 cm., 21.38 in., Height 36.50 cm., 14.37 in.
In a silvered, reverse bevelled section frame
Frame Length 80 cm., 31 ½ in., Height 62 cm., 24 ½ in.,

All prices exclude custom clearance fees which, where appropriate, will be charged directly to the client by your receiving courier, importer or government.
Height 36.5 cm / 14 12"
Width 54.3 cm / 21 "

20th Century






Redfern Gallery, London; sold to Mrs S. J. Hankey, London, July 1942


A Peat & B Whitton, John Tunnard His Life and Work, Aldershot 1997, page 160, catalogue number 262

London, Redfern Gallery, John Tunnard, July-August 1942, number 12 London, Mayor Gallery, British Surrealism Fifty Years On, March 1986, number 113, illustrated page 51 Finland, Retretti Art Centre, Surrealismi- Surrealism, May- September 1987, illustrated in colour number 94 page 60 Milan, Palazzo Reale, I Surrealisti, May- September 1989 Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, Die Surrealisten, November 1989- February 1990