A Brilliant Box of British Books: The New Naturalists

books & naturalistsart of the new naturalists

Thanks to a thoughtful Land Library supporter, several times each year we receive a shipment of books from a British bookseller. It’s our happy task to select the titles, place the order, and wait a few weeks for the loud thump on our doorstep.

The only difficult step is determining which titles to order, but whenever we’re able, we add another volume to one of our favorite sections in the entire library — those shelves dedicated to the classic New Naturalist series. The longest-running, and arguably most influential natural history series in the world, the New Naturalists have published over 100 volumes in the past 60 years. The aim of the series since its inception has been “to interest the general reader in the wild life of Britain by recapturing the inquiring spirit of the old naturalists.” What a wonderful ambition!

Over the years the New Naturalist series has featured the work of classic writers such as F. Fraser Darling, Sir Alister Hardy, Miriam Rothschild, and Niko Tinbergen.

Two recent additions to the series are pictured above. Books and Naturalists by David Elliston Allen explores the world of natural history publishing through the course of history — a long and distinguished pursuit! Peter Marren and Robert Gillmor’s Art of the New Naturalists highlights what has become an iconic feature for the entire New Naturalist series: its distinctive and colorful cover art design — which you can see with each image below:

ladybirdsnew naturalist spines
Ladybirds by Mike Majerus, and a colorful array of New Naturalist’s spines.

woodland birdsmountain flowers

bumblebeeswild flowers
Woodland Birds by Eric Simms, Mountain Flowers by John Raven & Max Walters, Bumblebees by Ted Benton, Wild Flowers by John Gilmour & Max Walters

f. fraser darlingyellow wagtailbadger
Natural History in the Highlands and Islands by F. Fraser Darling, The Yellow Wagtail by Stuart Smith, Badger by Timothy Roper.

As the New Naturalist series grew over 100 titles strong, a volume was published on the series itself. Peter Marren’s The New Naturalists (pictured below) provides a fascinating glimpse at a publishing phenomena which happily has no end in sight!

new naturalists marren

For much more on the New Naturalists, be sure to visit their information-packed website newnaturalists.com.

And for more on the Land Library’s collection of classic British nature books, please visit these earlier posts:

A Brilliant Box of British Bird Books

The Dipper and the Best Book Series We Know

The Poetry of Birds

Wouldn’t it be grand to open an Irish branch of the Rocky Mountain Land Library

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