Drawn to Nature Gilbert White and the Artists Simon Martin, David Attenborough, Virginia Woolf

Publication date:
09 Nov 2021
Pallant House Gallery
192 pages: 229 x 140mm
200 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:

The natural world as seen through the eyes of British artists including Eric Ravilious, Clare Leighton, and John Piper

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.

Simon Martin is a curator and writer and director of Pallant House Gallery. Sir David Attenborough is one of the UK’s most-loved broadcasters, and the Life series, which he writes and hosts, has helped to form a comprehensive survey of all life on the planet.

“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

"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

“Delightful...This is a beautiful little volume.”—Martin Gayford, Spectator