A Murder of Crows

Gouache, with gold leaf over a red ground., 22.5 x 11 inches (57 x 28 cm), 2011.

'A Murder of Crows' painting in gouache with gold leaf, by Nancy Farmer, 2011
‘A Murder of Crows’ painting in gouache with gold leaf, by Nancy Farmer, 2011

If you are interested in the process of making this painting, and in particular the handling of the gold leaf, have a look at this facebook album:http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150358116315730.398719.22600840729

This painting was inspired by the term ‘A Murder of Crows’ – a ‘Murder’ being the correct collective noun for a group of crows. There are a lot of very fanciful and inventive collective nouns. I once remember hearing that the Victorians were fond of making them up, and of course a quick scan around the internet will reveal that people are still inventing new ones. However, a Murder of Crows is a collective noun of some venerability, whose origins are lost in the mists of the mists of the 15th century: http://www.word-detective.com/2009/02/22/murder-of-crows-etc/. A curious and unsettling expression handed down through the centuries.


  1. im going to paint youre murder of crows painting..i found it so cool..i also painted some of jack vettriano`s masterpieces. but not for sale the only reason is my passion to drawing and painting..i would be glad if you explain more about gold leaf techniques.

    1. Hi Sara, have a look at this post about gold leaf. This is part 1 but there is no part 2, I can’t recall what I was going to write, but I didn’t. Anyway, this will tell you more about it. Best of luck, Nancy

      1. thanks for answering my question..i love your work…i find it so meaningful..your one of the best artist contemporary..

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