RAFOS Newsletter reviews Gillmor’s Birds, Blocks and Stamps

(NOTE: This review will appear in the Spring 2012 issue of the Royal Air Force Ornithological Society Newsletter, published 7th March 2012)

The Art of Robert Gillmor

Anyone interested in birdwatching will almost certainly have enjoyed the beauty of Robert Gillmor’s illustrations of birds and their environment. His bold colours, accurate representation and eye-catching design make his linocuts instantly recognisable as ‘a Robert Gillmor.’ It is interesting to compare his work with the woodcuts in one of the oldest bird books in my library; Thomas Bewick’s 1797 “History of British Birds.” Bewick is rated as one of the finest woodcut artists of all time. He even has a swan named after him, Cygnus columbianus bewickii. Early copies of books illustrated by him now cost a small fortune. Robert Gillmor’s beautiful illustrations of the 24 stamps he designed for the Royal Mail can be enjoyed in an attractive book for only £12.50, an absolute snip!

All 24 pictures featured on the new stamps are reproduced full page size in this book, but that is only part of the attraction. The text by Robert Gillmor takes the reader on a relaxed journey through the genesis of the idea to produce these stamps, the techniques involved and the sources of his inspiration. The book is very easy to read and one is aware of Robert Gillmor’s deep interest in birds.

He is currently vice-president of the Society of Wildlife Artists which he helped to found in 1964. He has served on the council of the RSPB, BOU and BTO so his birding credentials are sound. He lives at Cley in Norfolk so is always close to one of the best birdwatching areas in Britain.

Whether your interest is in art, birds or stamps or any combination of these, I recommend this book as an excellent purchase that will surely become a collector’s gem in future years.

The book is “Birds, Blocks & Stamps” by Robert Gillmor, published by Two Rivers Press, 7 Denmark Road, Reading RG1 5PA. ISBN 978-1-901677-79-9 and should now be available through your usual book supplier at £12.50. Don’t delay!