In which I am showered with gifts, well, a gift

One evening last week the door bell went, and there on the doorstep was one of my old Ivydale students (now in year 8) and her mum. They’d picked up a vintage bug book from a market stall and wanted to give it to me as a present. It’s the 1938 Detmold-illustrated edition of Fabre’s Book of Insects. What a delight.
Jean-Henri Fabre (1823-1915) is slightly forgotten in the UK nowadays; not only was he French (although most of what he wrote was translated into English), but because he was writing for a general audience his works perhaps lack the lasting scientific gravitas of the monograph-producing elite. Nevertheless there is much to find in his charming, slightly old-fashioned, prose, and his personal observations are just as poignant today as they were a century ago.
In this volume the watercolour pictures are exquisite. Obviously the dung beetle frontis is my favourite.
Thanks Saoirse.

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2 responses to “In which I am showered with gifts, well, a gift

  1. Wow! What a treasure. I’d be thrilled as anything to get it too. I love having reference books of anything relating to the natural world (despite all that’s available now online). But to receive an older work like that with his personal observations and watercolours is special indeed. I consider the watercolours of fauna and flora, from a time sadly noe passed, to be among the best illustrations ever produced. Lucky you! You obviously made quite an impression on your former student – the mark of a good teacher.

  2. How lovely is that? It’s so pleasing these days when someone is thinking about you and they want to buy you a little gift just to show their appreciation, for whatever. And all this time you have no idea…..
    Good for you Richard, keep up the goods work. :-)

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