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Of A Feather

Avian Collective Nouns & Terms of Assembly, Group Names & Associated Terms

Written, compiled, designed and illustrated by COLIN SEE-PAYNTON

with a Foreword by DAVID ATTENBOROUGH

THE COMBINATION of Colin See-Paynton's exquisite wood engravings illustrating his carefully researched text, a Foreword by Sir David Attenborough, and the renowned printing and binding standards of Gwasg Gregynog, make this volume a truly unique publication.

COLIN SEE-PAYNTON has spent more than four years in extensively researching and writing the text, and creating the sixty-one new wood engravings for this illustrated lexicon of avian collective nouns: an unprecedented achievement. In a critical essay David Alston, Arts Director of the Arts Council Wales, writes: 'not since Thomas Bewick, who both wrote and engraved in the late eighteenth century, have both literary and pictorial aspects been found conjoined in the one talent as here in this work'. That the observation and study of the natural world has been a lifelong interest is evident both from the engravings and the enthusiasm revealed in the text. From 'Abandonment of Cuckoos' to 'Zephyr of Long-Tailed Titmice' it enriches our knowledge of avian nomenclature far beyond the well-known 'Gaggle of Geese' - though that, too, is included.

DRAWING FROM SOURCES as far back as the fifteenth-century Book of St Albans, Colin See-Paynton has researched the origin of the nouns, and gives some detailed insight into the species under discussion.

IN A COMPREHENSIVE INTRODUCTION, he revisits his upbringing in rural Bedfordshire, when as a child he made a list of the collective nouns in daily use. Now, some half a century later, that list has been extended and illustrated to become Gwasg Gregynog's magnum opus for 2008.

COLIN SEE-PAYNTON is widely regarded as the leading exponent of the art of wood engraving in the UK and lauded as a 'national treasure'. The V & A, Ashmolean, National Museum of Wales and National Library of Wales all hold significant collections of his work as do innumerable private collectors. A Fellow of the Royal Cambrian Academy, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and a member of the Society of Wood Engravers, he exhibits regularly in group and solo shows and is a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. A monograph of his engraved work,'The Incisive Eye' was published in 1997 by Scolar Press as a [i:catalogue raisonneẻ of all his editioned prints from the period 1980-1996.

SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH needs no introduction to anyone with even the remotest interest in wildlife and natural history. Through his numerous documentaries on animal life and environmental issues, he has become one of the most widely respected naturalists. The catalogue of honours bestowed upon him from every aspect of his life reflects the high esteem in which he is held. A species of echidna and a Mesozoic reptile have also been named after him. The new communications centre to be opened in 2008 at the Natural History Museum will be named the David Attenborough Studio in his honour. In the Foreword for this new Gwasg Gregynog book, he reminds us that wood engraving as an illustrative medium was first used by Thomas Bewick in his History of British Birds. Tracing a path through Robert Gibbings, Agnes Miller Parker and Charles Tunnicliffe to the present work, he sees Colin See-Paynton as introducing 'yet another vision to this rich tradition . . . whose joyous designs . . . have brought something new to the portrayal of birds'


A limited edition of 150 numbered copies for sale. Of these a maximum of 25 copies will be bound by a leading Designer Bookbinder and presented in a felt-lined box (further details available on application). The remainder of the edition will be bound in quarter leather with a design blocked on the upper cover, lettered in gold on the spine, and presented in a cloth covered slipcase. The text is machine-set in 16pt Monotype Baskerville, cast at Gregynog and printed letterpress on a special making of T. H. Saunders Waterford 100% cotton acid-free mould-made paper. There are a total of 61 specially-commissioned wood engravings: 31 full page (6"x8"), 28 headpieces (2"x2"), and two for the title page. These will all be printed from the original blocks: the title-page 'feather' engraving being overlaid with gold leaf. 172pp, 275 x 360mm (c.10.75" x 14.25")

The illustration from the book are available as individual signed prints. List of available prints

Price: £1750 (Quarter leather)
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