After studying at the Macclesfield School of Art he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London, gaining his teaching diploma and a further scholarship to study in the RCA’s new Etching and Engraving School.
His excellent work gained his diploma with distinction, in 1923. He stayed on in London to develop a career as an etcher and engraver, producing some of his finest work during this time.
In 1928 he returned to Macclesfield, earning his living mainly from commercial artwork, much of it from the farming industry. Charles Tunnicliffe had a long association with Henry Williamson illustrating such famous novels as Tarka the Otter, Salar the Salmon and the Peregrine’s Saga, along with a further five other titles.
In the early 1940’s he took up a post at Manchester Grammar School, as a teacher of Art – he visited Anglesey during his holiday breaks.
He was a regular contributor to the Royal Academy and was elected as an associate in 1944, becoming a Royal Academician in 1954. He took great pride in exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy, and in 1974 his work was shown in a much acclaimed personal “Members Exhibition” at the RA. Charles and his wife Winifred moved from Cheshire to Anglesey in 1947, to live at Shorelands in Malltraeth, where he lived until his death in 1979.
He was very skilled artist in a wide range of media and his work was used to illustrate many magazine articles, books and advertisements. He created a superb personal collection of measured drawings of birds and was a major contributor to RSPB Bird Notes. He also took on many private commissions.