Following in the footsteps of artists such as Archibald Thorburn and George Edward Lodge, he produced many meticulously detailed and realistic studies of birds in their natural habitat.
Having been taught by Lodge as well as his own father George, a notable painter in his own right, his pictures appeared as plates in David Bannerman’s Birds of Cyprus and Colin Harrison’s The History of the Birds of Britain among other books.
When it comes to today’s commercial market, depictions of game birds and birds of prey are particularly favoured. This was shown by the performance of an eyecatching gouache and bodycolour of a Greenland Gyrfalcon that turned heads at Dawsons (23% buyer’s premium) in Maidenhead, Berkshire on February 25.
The 2ft 6in x 22in (77 x 56cm) signed work was dated 1952. It came to auction from a private Oxfordshire house and it was unusual to have the subject so ‘close up’ in a work of this scale. The painterly precision underlined Reid-Henry’s perfectionism – apparently he would release a work only if he felt it was flawless.
With the striking features of the bird and the good condition of the painting making it highly desirable against a £300-500 pitch, it was taken up to £5000 at which point it was knocked down to a private collector. The price appears to be one of the highest, if not the highest, for the artist at auction.