The Birds Of Spitalfields
Coming across an early copy of Thomas Bewick’s ‘History of British Birds’ from 1832 in the Spitalfields Market last week inspired me to publish this ornithological survey with illustrations courtesy of the great engraver.
I have always known these pictures – especially the cuts of the robin and the blackbird – yet they never cease to startle me with their vivid life, each time I return to marvel at the genius of Bewick in capturing the essence of these familiar creatures so superlatively.
The book reminded me of all the birds that once would have inhabited these fields and now are gone, yet it is remarkable how many varieties have persisted in spite of urbanisation. I have seen all of these birds in Spitalfields, even the woodpecker that I once spied from my desk, while looking into a tree from a first floor window.
The House Swallow
If any readers can add to this list, please get in touch and I will add the pictures here.