nature writer inspires artists | Announcer Romsey

HAMPSHIRE’s foremost naturalist, Gilbert White, has inspired a new book on the artistic response to his work.

Drawn to Nature: Gilbert White and the Artists shows how many people saw the natural world through White’s groundbreaking work in the 18th century.

White lived his life in and around Selborne near Alton and is widely regarded as the first modern nature writer.

Drawn to Nature is a book born from an exhibition organized at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester in 2020 by the director of the gallery Simon Martin.

With an introduction by Sir David Attenborough, the book shows how Gilbert White’s view of the natural world was channeled through the eyes of British artists such as Eric Ravilious, Clare Leighton and John Piper.

The 192-page book also features poems inspired by White, most notably by Kathryn Bevis, Hampshire Poet 2020-21. She was commissioned by the Winchester Poetry Festival and the Hampshire Cultural Trust to write a poem – A Vision – for the Reverend Gilbert White – celebrating the 300th anniversary of White’s birth.

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, numerous depictions of animals, birds and wildlife have illustrated White’s famous book, together providing a microcosm of natural history illustrations from the 18th century to the present day.

In Drawn to Nature, Simon Martin has put together beautiful images of the extraordinary diversity of wildlife described by White, providing insight into the continued appeal and relevance of natural history.

This fascinating tale takes us from some of the earliest published depictions of birds and animals, to pioneering nature photography, the revival of woodcut in the 1920s and 1930s, and responses to White’s message on the natural world by contemporary illustrators such as Angie Lewin. and Emily Sutton.

The book also includes an essay by Virginia Woolf, poems by modern and contemporary poets, and a jacket design by Mark Hearld.

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