Picture Profile: 0704 Monarch of the Fen (or Fen lights and the Monarch’s Pride)

0704 Monarch of the Fen (or Fen lights and the Monarch's Pride)

0704 Monarch of the Fen (or Fen lights and the Monarch’s Pride)

Artist Code: 0704. Completed September 2007. Original SOLD. Life size water colour on Aquarelle Arches 100% hot pressed cotton rag. Unframed size 34″ x 28″. Framed size 38” x 32”.

SOLD at Gallery @12A (Fulbourn, Cambs) August 2008.

Cock and Hen pheasant, Phasianus colchicus, Reeds, Phragmites australis, Moss, Dicranum scoparium.

As I was travelling along the A10 in the Fens of East Anglia, I espied this proud, beautiful creature astride a concrete block in a reed-filled drain. The image stayed in my head for three years before being put to paper and paint! I drew this magnificent creature almost full size so the painting was rather large—especially for a water colour.

These “common” pheasants have a worldwide range as gamebird introductions, but originated in Asia. It is one of the world’s most hunted birds and of course makes very good eating. The pheasant diet is varied and includes animal and vegetable such as fruit (especially dried raisins and berries!), seeds and leaves, invertebrates, small snakes, lizards, mammals, and birds. They have two very nasty, strong pointed “spurs” at the back of their legs above their heels which they use to defend their harem; sometimes fights are fatal, but mostly one of the fighting birds breaks down and runs away. The bright red wattle surrounding the male’s eye usually becomes redder and thicker at breeding time.

This painting featured in my 2008 Calendar for the month of November.


  1. He proudly stood on concrete throne,
    The traffic just a distant drone
    As driving down the old A10,
    I shouted, ‘Look, at Monarch of the Fen!’
    Head held high ‘neath thunderous sky,
    Surveying all with knowing eye
    (and he tastes good, too!)
  2. Garden birds are all around
    Sparrows, starlings, all abound
    Our doorstep crawls with feeding birds
    Trills and shrills—their spoken words
    To those who take the time to listen
    And in the sun their plumage glistens
    Little feathered friends are they
    Who brighten hearts on gloomy days.
    But also Fen provides a home
    for bigger birds we call our own
    The ‘Monarch’ proud with hens nearby
    Protecting all from passers by.