This is the third of the 'river' books by the author (the first being 'Sweet Thames Run Softly'), and follows the by-now familiar pattern of personal encounter and anecdote, historical and cultural research, all illustrated by his own wood engravings. In his later life, the bearded figure of Gibbings became as familiar on British television as was his voice to radio listeners. David Attenborough remembers Gibbings as being one of the inspiring influences at the start of his own career. Gibbings' personal life was very complicated, with two divorces, and a number of children by both wives, but the dedicatee of this book, Patience, the last of his partners, lived with him until his death in 1958.
Robert Gibbings (1889–1958) was an Irish artist and author noted principally for his work as a wood engraver and sculptor, and for his books on travel and natural history. With Noel Rooke he was one of the founder members of the Society of Wood Engravers in 1920, and had a major influence on the revival of wood engraving in the twentieth century.
Our copy of this title is in a particularly pleasing binding of green cloth with green half-leather, five raised bands and gilt title etc on the spine, despite being 'Produced in complete conformity with the authorized economy standards' (the American spelling is interesting). There are few signs of shelf wear - rubbed lower corners, a little rubbing to the spine edges, with some darkening of the spine, and a patch of light spotting on the back cover - and the binding is tight. Top page edges are gilt. The greenish endpapers are browned where the leather turn-ins meet the paper. The free fep bears a neat ink-written inscription dated 1949. Inside, the pages are all clean and bright, and the whole is illustrated with many B/W woodcuts. A very nice copy of this book.