Since its publication in 1789, Gilbert White’s Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne has inspired generations of artists, writers and naturalists. From Thomas Bewick to Eric Ravilious and Clare Leighton, many artists’ depictions of animals, birds and wildlife have illustrated White’s celebrated book, together providing a microcosm of natural history illustration from the eighteenth century until today. In Drawn to Nature, Simon Martin has gathered joyful and beautiful images of the extraordinary array of wildlife described by White, providing an insight into the continuing appeal and relevance of the Natural History.
This fascinating account takes us from some of the earliest published depictions of birds and animals, to pioneering nature photography, the revival of wood-engraving in the 1920s and 30s, and responses to White’s message about the natural world by contemporary illustrators such as Angie Lewin and Emily Sutton. The book also includes an introduction to the life of Gilbert White by Sir David Attenborough, an essay by Virginia Woolf, poems by modern and contemporary poets, and a jacket design by Mark Hearld.
Distributed for Pallant House Gallery
“Martin is the director of the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, which last year staged an exhibition about White’s influence on artists. He has now transformed that show into a book that elegantly blends art history and biographical detail with a visual valentine to the English countryside.”—Simeon House, The Mail on Sunday
“The illustrations are astutely selected and Simon Martin’s insights are informative. Occasionally he sounds a note of warning, an exhortation to emulate White’s attention to detail, to ‘notice and take care of the nature on our doorsteps, before it is lost’—a comment on the perilous state of today’s natural world that would no doubt bewilder White himself.”—Lev Parikian, Times Literary Supplement
“Delightful. . . . This is a beautiful little volume.”—Martin Gayford, Spectator
“This book is well produced, with fine quality colour printing of the illustrations, useful notes and a bibliography, and is reasonably priced. It will especially appeal to readers who are drawn to the romanticism and nostalgia of English landscape art.”—Diana Donald, Journal of Natural History
“Rarely is [the Revd Gilbert White’s] essential Englishness understood, but it comes across church-bell clear in the superb Drawn to Nature.”—John Lewis-Stempel, Country Life
“One of the most eye-delighting, visually alluring and agreeably readable examples of the book-making of the second half of the year.”—The Tablet
“Beautiful, insightful and delightful.”—Rupert Toovey, West Sussex Gazette