Tuesday 28 September 2010

Trust receives gift of books from Jane Dawson

Jane Dawson, who founded the INHT in 1984 in memory of her late husband Rod Dawson, has kindly donated a number of very beautiful books to the Trust library.

Included among these are a complete set (twelve volumes) of "Birds of the British Isles"  by David A. Bannerman illustrated by George F Lodge

These were first published in 1958 by Oliver & Boyd of Edinburgh.

The books were an important addition to the ornithological lexicon in their time.  The reproduction of the paintings of George Lodge are very high quality. 

Also included in the gift is a complete set of the beautifully illustrated "Waterfowl of the World" by Jean Delacours illustrated by Sir Peter Scott
Jean Thodore Delacour (1890 - 1985) was an American ornithologist of French origin. He was renowned for not only discovering but also rearing some of the rarest birds in the world. One of the birds he discovered was the Imperial Pheasant, later found to be a hybrid between the Vietnamese Pheasant and the Silver Pheasant.

Delacour was born in Paris into a wealthy family and grew up on the family estate in Picardy where he became interested in aviculture and established a private zoo. He attended good schools and achieved a doctorate in biology from the Universit Lille Nord de France. He served in the French Army during the First World War, a war which devastated the family estate, as well as killing his only surviving brother. Moving to Chateau Clres in Normandy, he created a second zoo, eventually donating it to the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in 1967. He went on numerous scientific expeditions to Indochina, particularly Vietnam, as well as to Venezuela, the Guianas and Madagascar.

During the Second World War Delacour lived in the USA, working as a technical adviser at the Bronx Zoo as well as on avian systematics at the American Museum of Natural History. In 1952 he became director of the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science and Art, retiring in 1960. Thereafter he divided his time seasonally, spending summer at his estate at Clres in France, and wintering in the United States, mainly in Los Angeles.

The volumes have been illustrated by Sir Peter Markham Scott (1909 1989) British ornithologist, conservationist, painter, naval officer and sportsman. He was one of the founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly called the World Wildlife Fund), and designed its panda logo. His pioneering work in conservation also contributed greatly to the shift in policy of the International Whaling Commission and signing of the Antarctic Treaty. The latter inspired by his visit to his father's base on Ross Island in Antarctica.

Jane has also donated a set of one of the most famous bird books of all time, being "The Birds of the British Isles and their Eggs" by T A Coward.  Originally published in 1920 the three volumes are illustrated by Archibald Thorburn and probably did more than any other book published to popularise the study of birds in the early part of the 20th century.

Thorburn's paintings were later used to illustrate the Observers Book of British Birds

The Trust has an important collection of reference works and periodicals in its library and we are absolutely delighted to have received this latest gift from Jane.

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