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Good Reads  Botany  Plants & Botany: General

Understorey A Year Among Weeds

By: Anna Chapman Parker(Author)
284 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations
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  • Understorey ISBN: 9780715655207 Hardback Jun 2024 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 5 days
Price: £18.99
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About this book

In Understorey, artist and writer Anna Chapman Parker records in prose and stunning original line drawings a year spent looking closely at weeds, our most ubiquitous and accessible plants. In gardens, on verges or clustered around municipal lampposts, weeds offer a year-round spectacle of wildlife. The benefits to us of being among greenery are well known, but what exactly are these vaguely familiar shapes that accompany our every step, yet pass beneath our notice? How and when do they emerge, bloom and subside, and what would it mean to notice them?

Meditating too on how they appear in other artists' work, from a bramble framing a sixth-century Byzantine manuscript to a kudzu vine installation in contemporary Berlin, Chapman Parker explores the art of paying attention even to the smallest things.

Customer Reviews


Anna Chapman Parker is a writer, teacher and artist specialising in drawing. She trained at the University of Edinburgh and Wimbledon College of Art. Recent exhibitions and teaching collaborations include the Edinburgh Festival of Art, the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Trust. Her writing has appeared in Rake's Progress and Happy Hypocrite. She lives in Berwick-on-Tweed. Understorey is her first book.

By: Anna Chapman Parker(Author)
284 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"A beautiful, quiet, achingly tender book. A year spent with weeds; giving voice to the exquisite and the everyday alike [...] It's a reminder that the circle always turns; the light always comes back"
– Kerri ni Dochartaigh, author of Thin Places

"A year of sketching and musing on the unplanted, unplanned, unremarkable greenery that surrounds us all every day. A celebration of disorder and doing nothing – the perfect antidote to the modern belief that something only exists once it's been captured by your phone"
– Ken Thompson, author of Common or Garden

"A delicately written study of the joys and difficulties of paying attention"
– Jessie Greengrass, author of The High House

"Anna Chapman Parker weaves together art history, botany, ecosystems, and the routines of everyday life in this gracefully illuminating account of a year drawing weeds. Through the shifting seasons, Chapman Parker's drawings and prose reveal the extraordinary value of plants that are generally taken for granted, ignored, or obliterated, and the power of stopping to look carefully, pen in hand"
– Alixe Bovey, Dean and Deputy Director at The Courtauld

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