by Richard Allen
Coming originally from land-locked Berkshire, I never tire of walking my dog Buster along the Colne estuary and observing the ever changing scene of birds, tides and weather. There is always something interesting going on, pairs of Oystercatchers squabbling over territory, a Marsh Harrier drifting along the seawall, or a seal crunching on a Dab. The bird population of the estuary is also constantly changing, as I write this the Black-tailed Godwits are about to leave for their Icelandic nesting grounds, while the Lapwings and Golden Plover that crowded the mud in winter are already on the meadows and moors of eastern Europe.
“Coastal Birds” is a collection of linocuts inspired by the birds that regularly haunt and bring to life mylocal patch of shoreline. I am particularly attracted to birds with bold dynamic plumage such as Lapwings, Shelduck and Oystercatchers, and the patterns found in their habitat of water, mud and sky. The Avocet is a special favourite, one that I spend many hours sketching, a rare bird in my early birdwatching days it is now a frequent sight on this east coast estuary.
“It begins with a cover designed in a style of a different age, reminiscent of childhood Ladybird Books. The nostalgic theme continues through pages full of splendid linocut images and words inspired by the birds watched and sketched along the Colne Estuary in Essex.
Richard Allen has clearly had a vision about the layout of Coastal Birds. The temptation may have been to make it a larger-sized book with colour added here and there. But the small format, 12 x 12cm, with black printing on ivory-coloured pages, creates an impact and cosy appeal that would certainly be lost on anything grander. I like it.”
Dan Powell, British Birds 2015
Jardine Press 2014.
120 x 120mm, 46pp
ISBN 978 0 9926877 1 7