The Collins New Naturalist series of books is the oldest and one of the most influential natural history series in the world. Concentrating on the nature of the British Isles, over 100 volumes have been published in more than 60 years. The books are renowned for their excellent research, writing and beautifully-illustrated covers. They are also considered highly collectable.
British natural history
The aim According to the New Naturalist website, the original aim of the series was "to interest the general reader in the wild life of Britain by recapturing the inquiring spirit of the old naturalists." This was later enumerated in an editors’ preface that read: "An object of the New Naturalist series is the recognition of the many-sidedness of British natural history, and the encouragement of unusual and original developments of its forgotten or neglected facets." The first book in the New Naturalist series was E.B. Ford’s Butterflies published in 1945. It has gone on to feature such titles as The Art of Botanical Illustration, Reptiles and Amphibians in Britain, and Waders. Monographs The 100th volume, Woodlands by Oliver Rackham, was published in 2006. The books are written by authors who are experts in their field and have been praised for their popular scientific approach to writing. Although considered authoritative introductory textbooks, they are also written to appeal to the non-specialist. A series of monographs were printed between 1948 to 1971.
Beautifully-illustrated covers The books are famous for their beautifully-illustrated covers. Many of the dust jackets were originally illustrated by renowned naturalist artists Clifford and Rosemary Ellis. They created more than 86 covers over 40 years. More recent volumes have been designed by Robert Gillmor. Publishers' note The New Naturalist series are numbered volumes and can be highly collectable. There are limited print runs for some volumes as well as special deluxe leather-bound editions. The publishers boast on the New Naturalist website: "The New Naturalist leather-bound editions remain something of a secret known only to fans of the series, given that we don't sell or publicise it beyond this website." They have also launched a print on-demand service for the first 100 volumes, which is available only through their website.