Sunday, 11 September 2011


I Had a very surreal day on Saturday! I attended a Book Fair in York to see if I could find any nice gems relating to bird art or any nice old bird books hidden amongst the many shelves of antique books on display. There were many of the old classics on display namely British tits (Christopher Perrins from the Collins New Naturalist Series)
that seems to appear at every stall?

However every now and then I would come across a beauty of a book like The Sparrowhawk by Ian Newton which is made twice as amazing as it contains Keith Brockie's incredible illustrations! (SOME OF MY FAVOURITE OF ALL TIME...especially the bird incubating on nest...WOW) what I would give to get hold of a print!

Sparrowhawk and with feathers of prey, by Keith Brockie

Sparrowhawk Face On by Keith Brockie

Sparrowhawk Circling up over Landscape, by keith Brockie

Sparrowhawk Head Profile by Keith Brockie


But the best was yet to come and on getting to the Modern First Editions Stall I was blown away with what lay ahead of me....SIR PETER SCOTTS ORIGINAL DRAWINGS FOR THE KEY PLATES OF 'THE WATERFOWL OF THE WORLD'!!!!!

Amazingly the Gentlemen (a real gentlemen it has to be said) running the stall allowed me to take it down from its display and look at every page and photograph them.

I was in Heaven!

This is the description given in the brochure regarding Sir Peter Scotts Work:

An archive from the estate of Sir Peter Scott's widow comprising thirty four line original line drawings and two dozen proofs by the great ornithological writer and artist for Volumes One, Two and Three of The Waterfowl of the World written by Scott's friend the French-American author Jean Delacour. In their clean lines and lack of fussiness these drawings reveal Scott's facility as a draughtsman and his extraordinary attention to detail, combined with the drive and determination which enabled him to carry through encyclopedic projects of this kind. These are the illustrations to the key plates which were bound into volumes I-III opposite Scott's colour plates of waterfowl. They are delicately inked onto tracing paper apparently by drawing over his own painted images for the coloured plates. There are pin marks which appear in the corners of all the sheets and would have held each one in place over the primary image. After completing the outline Scott then adds enough detail to effect the transfer from painted image to line drawing, rounding out the image and denoting significant identifying features. He appears to have decided that the images of chicks required the most shading and cross-hatching which makes them some of the most endearing images. Scott's final task for each drawing was to glue into position the labels that allow the reader to identify the species in both English and Latin. Most sheets also show additional annotations in Scott's handwriting. There are frequent signs of revision and improvement. Scott used tippex where he'd made minor mistakes and blue watercolour where a whole bird needed removing from the image. It's noticeable that he's more prone to these errors in the drawings for the first volume than the third volume which shows a much greater fluency of line, aided perhaps by the slightly smaller numbers of American and African species filling the page. In addition to Scott's notes there are printer's annotations concerning technical information, especially regarding the need to resize the images. VOLUME 1 covers The Magpie Goose, Whistling Ducks, Swans and Geese, Sheldgeese and Sheldducks: fifteen key plates showing quite heavy patterns of correction and emendation; each sheets labelled by Scott with some additional annotations and instructions. There is a letter from Country Life returning the drawings to Scott in 1962. VOLUME 2: The Dabbling Ducks - 23 proofs used for labelling and printed on slightly more opaque tracing paper; also in their original envelope. VOLUME 3: Eiders, Pochards, Perching Ducks, Scoters, Golden-eyes and Mergansers, Stiff-tailed Ducks. All 19 of the original key plates are present for Volume III drawn on a higher quality of tracing paper and consequently presenting clearer images. Plates in their original envelope. The drawings with their carefully positioned labels are testament to Peter Scott's lifelong mission to share his passion for wildlife, and waterfowl in particular, with the widest possible audience.

Here are some of the photos I took of the drawings and one taken from the website that's a lot clearer than my shaky efforts resulting from the amount of adrenaline rushing through my blood stream....


I would just like to say a massive thankyou to the gentlemen at Modern First Editions for all of his time and allowing me the privelage to look at an absolute legends work! I am very grateful indeed

If anyone would like any more information concerning these drawings or is interesting in them they are for sale at the Modern First Editions Website @

BELIEVE ME THERE WORTH IT....There beautifully executed and the Ducklings/Goslings are incredible

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