Extinct Boids.

Extinct Boids by Ralph Steadman.

Extinct Boids by Ralph Steadman.

One of the great things about working within dark recesses of the book industry (not that I’m going to tell you which recesses you’ll find me in though) is being part of the wonderful world of proofs, sample copies and hearing about upcoming release information on new titles. Hence my open letter to Mr Lemony Snickett a few weeks ago regarding his new title release (of which I am still waiting a response.)

So last week I was quite interested to receive information on a new collection of paintings from the artist Ralph Steadman, to be published in a book by Bloomsbury this coming October. Ralph Steadman is the celebrated caricaturist and most famously, the creator of the crazy drug-induced drawings which illustrated Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas novel and film artwork. I remember a lot of his paintings in the 80s; his satirical and poisonous depictions of Margaret Thatcher and other politicians were up there with Spitting Image for me.

However this new publication is a far cry from anything the New Statesman might publish. The book itself, entitled Extinct Boids, is a product of Ghosts of Gone Birds, a wonderful scheme helping to raise awareness of the ever-increasing realities of our bird life becoming extinct. It is in conjunction with BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions programme from which proceeds of the book will go into as well.

Ralph Steadman was approached to paint ‘a couple of pieces of art’ and within days he had already painted four amazing images of extinct birds in his classically unique and humorous style. Looks like he had great fun too, judging by this preview on Bloomsbury’s website that I can share with you by clicking here, and by clicking here, you can see some of the incredible images directly on Ralph’s website.

If you’re interested in ornithology, animal conservation or indeed art from one of our most influential and admired artists, then I urge you to make a note in your literary diary and check this out upon its release later in the year. At the very least this is one of the best ways we can keep the memories and histories of our lost species alive.

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