On the bookshelves of refined countryside admirers, you will often find a copy of The Concise British Flora, an illustrated guide to wildflowers written and illustrated by the Reverend William Keble Martin. This gentle chap was a resident of Woodbury back in the 1960s, and today's residents are getting together to celebrate his book and the beauty of the surrounding East Devon countryside. There is to be a memorial exhibition and a series of events next summer, 2019, reflecting on how the landscape has changed and how we are still inspired to go out and enjoy our natural heritage.
The book is more than just a guide – it was his life's work, a dedicated labour of love for which he travelled around the UK studying the fields and hedgerows, making incredibly detailed sketches that are artworks in themselves, and then working them up into watercolored illustrations. Due to the expense of producing coloured plates, it was several years before Keble Martin found a publisher who would agree to take it on.
There are various activities and plans in progress, including art exhibitions, workshops, talks, a website, and a series of interviews to be filmed and made into a short documentary. We have decided to call the project Woodbury Wide Awake, as it is the title of a cover of the Woodbury News that Keble Martin illustrated when he lived in the village. If you would like to find out more and perhaps take part, keep an eye out for the website coming soon.
The flower above is a trial logo I designed for the project, followed by a snap of a reconnaissance shoot at St Swithun's churchyard in Woodbury, featuring our esteemed professional interviewer – he used to work for the BBC, you know!