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The following article appeared on page 70-73 in the September 1999 edition of The Shooting Gazette.


Wildfowl in
epic proportions

Richard Robjent has done it again. Sporting Wildfowl of the British Isles is the latest collectable from a uniquely talented artist.

       Who better to recruit than Brian Martin to write the accompanying text for Richard Robjent's latest book which complements its predecessors perfectly, yet stands alone as an authoritative tome for lovers of wildfowl, writes Graham Roberts.
       Sporting Wildfowl of the British Isles will be launched in November at the prestigious Air Gallery in London where Robjent is exhibiting the 32 watercolours and 50 sepia drawings from the book. Fine Sporting Interests Ltd has published the work as a fine limited edition of 350 copies, each signed by both author and artist, and containing an original sepia sketch by the latter. The first 35 (Special Edition) will also contain an original watercolour by Robjent. All books are meticulously leather bound by hand in mid-blue morocco leather and contain a foreword by Lord Buxton (see over page).
 
  Teal coming into Sharmans Lake at Pensthorpe
       Brian Martin, a well known and highly regarded country and natural history writer, has obviously had a few late nights compiling impressively detailed accounts of the 13 species on the quarry list - (duck) mallard, wigeon, teal, pintail, shoveler, gadwall, tufted, pochard, goldeneye, (geese) greylag, pinkfoot, whitefront and Canada. In addition to these, four species shot under general licence join the exclusive club - brent goose, barnacle goose, goosander and red-breasted merganser.
       So why all the fuss? If you've not thumbed through an original Robjent epic before, you're far from alone because neither have I or most other shooting folk. My copy came in the form of a photocopied version discreetly pushed through the office letterbox. You see, The Woodcock (1988), The Snipe (1989), The Grouse (1991), The Partridge (1993) and The Pheasant (1995) are all expensive books and the latest offering is no exception. It saunters in at 2,200 (Special Edition), or 690 if you allow 35 enthusiasts to jump the queue.
       However, this is hardly your average paperback and I cannot begin to explain the Herculean production efforts and jaw-dropping costs of publishing what will prove to be a seriously good investment for the fortunate owners.
       I could quote at length from the various chapters on each bird but I offer only this which I hope will put to rest the arguments I have had with various people on how to spell the name of a certain duck...

 
Tufted duck and grey partridges in winter
       "The name wigeon goes back through var-ious spellings, such as 'wigene' to the 'wegyons' of 1513, but by far the most popu- lar alternative has been 'widgeon', which remained common in bird 4 books until the early 20th century *. and is still used by some people. Wigeon became the dominant name when adopted by Pennant in 1768 and derives from the Old French vigeon, which may be traced back through the Late Latin vibionem and has onomatopoeic origin. The current Latin specific, penelope, derives from the Greek penelops for a kind of duck. Greek legend states that Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, was thrown into the sea as a baby and rescued by seabirds." So there, no more 'd's please. You know who you are.
       Combining Martin's authoritative text with Robjent's evocative watercolours is one of the few dream tickets still available in modern sporting art and literature. Thankfully they have not wasted the opportunity and this book will find its way along the ready branches of family trees countrywide.

Sporting Wildfowl of the British Isles mil be launched at The Air Gallery, 32 Dover Street, London during Richard Robjent's exhibition of his work from the book. This will take place between November 1-6, 1999 and all watercolours and sepia drawings will be for sale. See also www.robjent.co.uk
       To order an advance copy of the book, contact Fine Sporting Interests, tel: 01263 712352.


FULLY BOOKED
The presentation of Richard Robjent's books is well worth a mention. They could be bereft of content and still raise an impressed eyebrow...
       Special edition (Copies 1-35 and 6 Presentation copies A-F)
       Size 10" x 12.5", 32 coloured plates 8" x 10.5" tipped-in by hand and approximately 50 sepia drawings. Text of about 26,000 words. Fully bound in finest selected mid-blue morocco leather, with raised bands, silk doublures, three edge gilding, 23.5 carat gold and hand tooled. Gold frames in panels with waterfowl in centre, pinhead design across raised bands. Waterfowl blocked on front and back covers. Hand finished gold frames on covers, gold tooling on board edges and cap. Full roll borders in gold on inside boards. Box in 1/4 bound mid-blue morocco with spine to match book, woven material sides, velvet lined and padded inside box.
       The Half-bound edition is also in mid-blue morocco leather with cockerel hand marbled pages, top edge hand gilt, hand lettering, title, author, date and centre tools to spine, blocking to front and back cover, and gold roll finish all in 22 carat gold leaf. There is also a matching buckram slip-case blocked in gold for each copy

The Shooting Gazette



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Email: richard@robjent.co.uk