A Portrait of the Tree is a repository of memories, and a testament to the British landscape. Trees are revealed as religious signifiers, historical landmarks, national emblems.
Sparked by a simple question: 'What is your favourite tree?', photographer Adrian Houston discovered a wealth of fascinating stories enmeshed with these giants of the natural world – some of miraculous survival, others of sheltering royalty, or witnessing history, or simply of personal grief and renewal. Adrian photographed each nominated tree looking utterly glorious: spotlit by night, bathed in morning sunshine, wreathed in delicate mist or blazing with autumn colour.
From the cedars of Highclere Castle to the plane trees of London, ancient pine woods of the Scottish Highlands to veteran oaks that have stood witness to time; from native stalwarts such as the monumental beech to endangered giant redwoods. This stunning celebration bears witness to the might and majesty of the lungs of the earth – the tree.
Includes: Joanna Lumley, Tony Kirkham, Dr George McGavin, Antony Gormley, Jasper Conran, Alice Temperley, Alan Titchmarsh, Sir Richard Carew Pole, the Reverend Lucy Winkett
"Action Oak is supporting important research into the health of the UK's native oak trees, which are facing numerous threats due to climate change and multiple pests and diseases. Adrian's stunning photographs capture the majesty of these iconic trees."
– Geraint Richards, Chair of Action Oak
"Tree have for millennia influences humankind; our traditions, our culture and our way of life. Adrian Houston's photographs capture, like no others, the beauty and mystery of trees and their role in our life. To protect trees against exotic pests and diseases means also protecting our lives and traditions."
– Ralf Lopian, Chairperson of the International Steering Committee for the International Year of Plant Health
"As a tree practitioner and tree lover I enjoy seeing and meeting special trees in gardens and in their natural settings like a woodland, and this is one of the many reasons for spending a lifetime working with them. The next best thing is seeing a good image that captures the natural beauty of a good specimen, old or young, common or rare, and there are few photographers that can do that well. Adrian is one of these photographers that can see the potential and seizes the moment to capture that beauty at any time of day or night."
– Tony Kirkham, MBE VMH, Head of Arboretum at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
"Trees are essential to life on earth, and the protection of the world's trees is crucial in our fight against climate change. A Portrait of the Tree is a stunning testimony to the beauty, endurance and importance of these giants. A must read for all conservationists, environmentalists and nature lovers."
– Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur and adventurer
"I believe that trees are our ancestors; many of them have lived for hundreds of years, watching over us, witnessing history, keeping our secrets. Just as they guard us, we must guard them from terrible tree diseases and from our own destructive actions. Adrian has done the most extraordinary job in capturing the characters of separate trees. This is a wonderful book: beautiful and important."
– Joanna Lumley, actress and activist