Skip to main content

Publisher: Red Hare Publishing, [Cley-next-the-Sea]

Publication Year: 2014

Binding: Softback

Page Count: 64

ISBN Number: 978-1-91000-103-5

Price: £ 15.95

Robert Gillmor's Norfolk Bird Sketches

Robert Gillmor will be familiar to many birdwatchers, his art featuring on the covers of a great many books on the subject, including the long and impressive run of New Naturalist covers. Some of

Robert's most striking work has involved the process of linocut but it is the sensitivity and immediacy of his field sketches that catches this birdwatcher's eye.

Published by Norfolk-based Red Hare Publishing, Norfolk Bird Sketches captures field sketches made over the last 20 years. These are presented in a slim 64-page book, landscape in orientation and, at just under A4 in size, not that dissimilar from a field sketchbook. The artwork is reproduced at the size of the original sketch or painting, the raw material from which more formal pieces have been produced.

The quality of both paper and printing deliver a quality book and it feels as if you could almost smudge the soft pencil work or wet the paint. The sketches, which feature familiar birds likely to be encountered at Cley or Titchwell, fall into three broad categories: quick 'notes' sketched to record a piece of behaviour or pose, more considered pieces that record greater detail, and the most finely worked pieces of birds that are brooding or sleeping.

Text is used to provide context to the work, though it is never intrusive and there is plenty of space around the pictures. This allows the artwork to speak for itself and retains the sense that this is a field sketchbook, a work in progress. Robert's return visits to North Norfolk haunts allow the presentation of a coastal bird community viewed across the seasons. We see the development of Avocet chicks, the passage of Black Terns and the preening, feeding and snoozing of winter wildfowl.

This is a terrific volume, underlining both the exceptional eye of Robert Gillmor and the growing reputation of this small independent publisher. It reveals the process by which the artist watches and records his subjects, and the skill required to capture a moment of movement that defines a particular bird.

Book reviewed by Mike Toms

buy this book

Related content