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Country life Review 2015

Collecting the New Naturalists       118 Country Life, September 9, 2015

www.countrylife.co.uk
Tim Bernhard and Timothy Loe (William Collins, £60 *£50)

IT'S SAID THAT young scientists wanting to study natural history in the field rather than the laboratory are an increasing rarity. This sorry trend makes the revival of interest in the Collins 'New Naturalist' series, first published in 1945 and aimed at 'recapturing the enquiring spirit of the old naturalists ', all the more heartening.' The first volumes, on Butterflies, British Game and London's Natural History, were published
in quick succession in the'immediate postwar months and the number of titles is now fast bearing down on 130.The books have become highly collectible, but whereas Tim Bernhard and Timothy Loe's
masterly 70th-anniversary over-view is mainly aimed at collectors and bibliophiles , it will interest anyone who has made the happy acquaintance of individual volumes, whether for research or personal pleasure or if they were seduced by the arresting covers.
Taking the story up to Ted Benton's Grasshoppers and Crickets, published in 2012, each volume is examined, from the distinctly arcane The Soil, apparently the last title most collectors seek when amassing their library, to the 'Holy Grail' of The Hawfinch, one of the additional 22 volumes published in the 'New Naturalist' monograph series, and there are details of every single author.
There is also a chapter on the artists. As Peter Marren says in his foreword, it was an inspired moment when publisher Billy Collins 'hit on the idea of wrapping works of cutting-edge popular science in "art" covers'. It's also satisfying to see ornithologist and broadcaster James Fisher's part in driving the library forward is properly accredited. The author of The Fulmar in the monograph series and co-author of SeaBirds with R. M.Lockley, his name may be little recalled now, but contemporaries knew his worth. When a child went up to Peter Scott for his autograph on one occasion, Scott nodded to Fisher, who was standing by him, and murmmed : 'His is the one you should be getting, not mine.' 
As windows shut with the onset of autumn, this delightful book opens another on the enchanting, often privately pursued, world of British Nature exploration. 
Jack Watkins
118 Country Life, September 9, 2015
www.countrylife.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

of The Hawfinch, one of the additional 22 volumes published in the 'New Naturalist' monograph series, and  there are  details of every single author.

There is also a chapter on the artists. As Peter Marren says in his foreword, it was an inspired moment when publisher Billy Collins 'hit on the idea of wrap­ ping works of cutting-edge popular science in "art" covers'. It's also satisfying to see ornithologist and broadcaster James  Fisher's  part  in driving


The series is aimed at 'recapturing the enquiring spirit of the old naturalists'

 

the library forward properly accredited. The author of The Fulmar in the mono­ graph series and co-author of Sea­ Birds   with   R.   M.

Lockley, his name may be little recalled now, but contemporaries knew his worth. When a child went up to Peter Scott for his autograph on one occasion, Scott nodded to Fisher, who  was  standing by him, and  murmmed : 'His is the one you should be getting,

not mine.'

As windows shut with the onset of autumn, this delightful book opens another on the enchanting, often privately pursued, world of British Nature exploration.  Jack Watkins

Created: 11-09-2015 15:36:35
Modified: 11-09-2015 15:37:38