Allen W Seaby, who is hardly a household name today, was a prolific author and illustrator whose wildlife books you may want to track down after reading this one, which I hope you will. They’re not even particularly expensive.
If Seaby hadn’t been the grandfather of Robert Gillmor, the chances are he’d have continued to drift into undeserved obscurity, but history and serendipity are capricious fellows and here he is being rescued from that oblivion. He’s a wonderful discovery by any measure. His woodcuts and illustrations are sublime and were, in their time, innovative. His sense of colour is extraordinary and his modelling superb. If you get a sense of the Japanese, that’s entirely intentional, he having studied their traditional methods. His watercolours are soft, sensitive and have a very modern feel to them.
As well as plenty of illustrations, this short, but very full book has a memoir by Robert Gillmor, as well as a study of his grandfather as a wildlife artist and essays by Martin Andrews that concentrate on the woodcut process and Seaby’s work as an illustrator.
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