In 1664, the horticulturist and diarist John Evelyn wrote Sylva, the first comprehensive study of British trees. It was also the world's earliest forestry book, and the first book ever published by the Royal Society. Evelyn's elegant prose has a lot to tell us today, but the world has changed dramatically since his day. Now authors Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet, taking inspiration from the original work, have masterfully created a contemporary version – The New Sylva. The result is a fabulous resource that describes all of the most important species of tree that populate our landscape. Silvologist Gabriel Hemery explains what trees really mean to us culturally, environmentally and economically in the first part of The New Sylva. These chapters are followed by forty-four detailed tree portrait sections that describe the history and the features of trees such as oak, elm, beech, hornbeam, willow, fir, pine, juniper, plane, apple and pear.
The pages of The New Sylva are brought to life with truly breathtaking artwork from artist and co-author Sarah Simblet, who captures the delicacy, strength and beauty of the trees through the seasons in 200 exquisite drawings. With an interplay of black and red type on creamy paper, The New Sylva recalls all the charm of traditional bookmaking. And at a moment when it is vitally important for us to rediscover how to treasure our trees, the time for this visionary, beautiful book is now.
This 2021 hardback version comes with illustrated endpapers and a ribbon marker and is physically slight smaller (203 × 254 mm) than the original 2014 version (245 × 290 mm).
Dr Gabriel Hemery is a prolific silvologist (forest scientist) and a passionate advocate for trees and forestry. He co-founded and is currently Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation. In his spare time he writes a popular tree and forestry blog gabrielhemery.com and during 2011-12 he played a lead role in campaigning to save England's public forests. He lives in Oxfordshire and is married with three children.
Dr Sarah Simblet is an artist, writer and broadcaster known internationally for her work in the fields of drawing, human anatomy and botany. She has written and illustrated three major art reference books that are sold worldwide. She is on the teaching staff of the National Gallery, London and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at the University of Oxford. Sarah also lives in Oxfordshire.
"Elegant [...] with glorious drawings"
– Sunday Telegraph
"An excellent successor to Sylva, well written and full of interesting information [...] The illustrations are magnificent, pen drawings by the great tree artist Sarah Simblet. She has the rare gift of depicting a recognisable leafless tree, a gift that was denied to artists Poussin and Gainsborough"
– Oliver Rackham, Spectator
"Sumptuous [...] exquisite drawings grace almost every spread. The reader will be beguiled into consuming large sections in a single sitting. It's also a book for dipping into. [...] planting trees is an affirmation of faith in the future, and this book will inspire new generations of tree planters, just as the original did"
– Gardens Illustrated
"We dig this [...] a book that proclaims its virtues with quiet dignity"
– Sunday Times
– BBC Countrylife
"Beautiful, useful and inspirational"
– BBC Wildlife Book of the Month
"Exquisite [...] eloquently written and beautifully illustrated"
– The Lady
"[...] should inspire the current generation of planters, whether they have acres or a small back garden"
"Perfect for fireside evenings dreaming of woodland rambles"
– BBC Countrylife
"Gorgeous, precious and important"
– Resurgence & Ecologist
"An unparalleled understanding of our trees"
– Mail on Sunday
"A delight on every page"
– Gardening Books of the Year, Evening Standard