Sunday book review – Norfolk Bird Sketches by Robert Gillmor

215879This attractive book of sketches will remind you, as it did me, of days spent on the north Norfolk coast, at places such as Holme, Titchwell and Cley, looking at birds. But I, and maybe you, look at birds in a different way from the way that Robert Gillmor has looked at birds for getting on for eight decades.

Robert sees birds with greater clarity than I do and then can commit those observations, and impressions, and feelings to paper in ways at which I can only marvel.  Robert Gillmor’s work has a jizz, like most birds have their own jizz, that makes it instantly recognisable, and I sometimes think that because Robert has been at the top of his profession for so long that, maybe like the more familiar birds around us, we may have stopped wondering at the quality of his eye and hand.  These aren’t just birds – these are Gillmor birds.

Have a look at this book and you can see what a fine artist he is. He captures the essence of the bird in his work – not just what it looks like but what it is. And the same subjects, captured by different artists, wouldn’t look the same. They would look as accurate and as like the ‘real’ bird, but not like Gillmors.

This book is filled with the species that we have come to expect in Gillmor’s work – boldly patterned species such as Avocet and Shelduck, and Grey Herons with quite a few waders and some gulls.  I like the gulls and terns a lot.

There are some notes alongside the sketches, water colours and linocuts but this book is a book of artwork.

Rather remarkably, Robert makes Linnets look rather good.

Robert Gillmor’s Norfolk Bird Sketches is published by Red Hare Publishing.


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4 Replies to “Sunday book review – Norfolk Bird Sketches by Robert Gillmor”

  1. There are lots of wonderful British bird artists, but Robert Gilmor stands head and shoulders above them all. Many of his sketches and a couple of paintings adorn the walls of my cottage and continue to move me. Naturally, I've ordered a copy of Robert's book.

    Robert recently produced a wonderful cover for our book "Birds of a Feather, seasonal changes on both sides of the Atlantic" proceeds of which go to The Wildlife Trusts.

  2. Whilst I'd agree that Gillmor has been a fantastic artist all my life not sure he is head and shoulders above the rest. Ian Lewington and Chris Rose are equally good, certainly more accurate and able to capture jizz in a completely different way. Going back Shackleton, Ennion and Tunnicliffe were all gifted too

  3. Robert Gillmor is a long time favourite of mine, and a sketchbook has long been awaited. But head and shoulders above the rest? There's only one John Busby.


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