Guardian Spirit of the East Bank
More than a biography of the acclaimed bird artist and field ornithologist Richard Richardson, who lived at Cley between 1949 and 1977, as it also contains many excerpts from his personal bird diaries, which he kept from 1949 to 1970.
Lavishly illustrated with examples of his watercolours and line drawings, as well as many of his personal photographs. In order to show off his paintings to the best effect, the book is in A4 format and is hardback with a dust wrapper.
The eighteen chapters include accounts of Richard's early birdwatching days in St James's Park, London (when he was a teenager), his wartime service in India, Ceylon and Singapore between 1943 and 1946, and his subsequent return to Norfolk. The history of Cley Bird Observatory occupies three chapters. These golden days, cherished by so many of the older generation of birdwatchers, are brought to life through personal memories of those fortunate enough to be around at the time. Other chapters include fascinating facts about Richard's life in Cley, incorporating thumb-nail sketches of some of the other Cley characters, such as his landlady, Mrs Davison and his close friends Peggy Meiklejohn and Liz Forster.
Richard also had a great liking for Shetland and in particular, Fair Isle. Another chapter is devoted to this aspect of his life. Perhaps the greatest surprise will be the chapter containing the poetry that he had written over the years.
As Robert Gillmor states in his informative and generous Foreword "It is abundantly clear from the many enthusiastic testimonies in this book that Richard Richardson had a great and benign influence on generations of birdwatchers . . .I am sure this book will be an inspiration to a new generation of young birders, amongst whom are many with a talent for drawing. I hope they will be encouraged by Richard's story to develop their own skills. He would be pleased if it does." 232 pages.
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