Birds of Britain  
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To obtain a signed copy of the book, send your name, address and a cheque for £37.00 made payable to 'Wren Publishing' to:

Wren Publishing
4 Heath Road
NR26 8JH

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Book Review

Title: Guardian Spirit of the East Bank
A Celebration of the life of R. A. Richardson
Author: Moss Taylor
Publisher: Wren Publishing
Type: Hardback
Published price: £37.00 (includes postage and packing)

R.A. RichardsonThere can have been few birdwatchers around in the 1950's to the 1970's who were not familiar with the name of Richard Richardson. For here was a man who had become a legend in his own lifetime as a result of his extraordinary skill as a field ornithologist and bird artist.

Right - Richard Richardson in the 1960's

Richard was born in London in 1922 and by the age of seven had already developed an interest in birds with his earliest surviving sketch of a puffin dated 1936. Having left school at sixteen he worked in an office in London but spent most of his free time birdwatching or sketching in St James Park. He kept diaries of his observations illustrated with pen and ink drawings.

Following a spell with the Royal Norfolk Regiment, Richard eventually settled at Cley. No visit to Cley in North Norfolk was complete without meeting up with him andspending many happy hours in his company. He established the Cley Bird Observatory and served as its only warden until it closed in 1963.

Great Spotted WoodpeckerHowever as a self taught artist, Richard had been perfecting his skills at bird illustrations since his teenage years and his pictures appeared in over twenty books as well as bird reports. His most successful commission was as the illustrator of the Pocket Guide to British Birds which was published in 1952 followed two years later by The Pocket Guide to Nests and Eggs.

Left - Great Spotted Woodpecker by RAR

Moss Taylor has indeed captured all that Richard Richardson meant to so many people. The tremendous response to his appeal for reminiscences and information about Richard enabled Moss to tell the story of this truly remarkable man whose premature death at the age of 55 years left an irreplaceable void in the world of birding. The book is more than just a biography. There are 190 illustrations and photographs (over 70 in colour) and include a large number of Richards beautiful illustrations, extracts from his birding diaries and his wartime diaries.

Above - Shorelark by RAR

This book is full of fascinating and often amusing anecdotes from his many friends on 'The East Bank' and farther afield including stories of his trips to Shetland another of his favourite places.

As Robert Gillmore states in his informative forward 'It is abundantly clear from the many enthusiastic testimonies in this book that Richard Richardson had a great and benign influence on generations of birdwarchers....I am sure this book will be an inspiration to a new generation of birders, amongst whom are many with a talent for drawing. I hope they wii be encouraged by Richard's story to develop their own skills. He would be pleased if it does.'