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A book to fall totally and irretrievably in love with, Lion is full of the most gorgeous paintings, drawings, and sketches, and is absolutely stunning. The lion, an apex predator, is surely one of the most beautiful sights you can see. When I was 19 I found myself in Kenya, eyes wide, mouth open as I watched a lioness and three cubs at a water hole. It is something that is as clear to me now as it was then, so, when I saw this book was going to be published, I was first in the LoveReading queue. Here we journey together with Mark Adlington as he studies lions in East and Southern Africa. The foreword by the winner of the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa and Co-Founder and Director of Operations at the Big Life Foundation, Richard Bonham, is effusive in its praise of Mark Adlington. It comes with a warning, that lions do not make good neighbours, and “where humans and wildlife compete, wildlife will surely lose”. However all is not: “doom and gloom… in the Amboseli ecosystem, by 2003 there were only 25 lions left… today, things have changed and the population has clawed itself back to over 200”. Mark has painted the progeny of the lions this programme has saved, and they appear in this dazzlingly impressive book. Mark describes meeting Richard and his wife Tara as a miracle: “I found myself invited to stay ‘in the most beautiful part of Kenya’ by a total stranger on the strength of a little sketch of a lion cub posted on instagram”. Mark also allows us access to his sketchbook musings (oh, the tortoise!), and finishes by saying that a world without the lion is unimaginable. What then follows is page after page of the most beautiful artwork, and this is where my mouth dropped open. Each piece is so full of character and movement, so vibrantly alive, that it brought tears to my eyes. The art is allowed to shine, no page numbers or captions to distract, you can simply sink into the beauty of the lion. So, Lion is a book to take pride of place on your bookshelves, a book to return to and open with wonder, to sit with eyes wide and heart open, to adore. Undoubtedly one of my personal books of the year, Lion just had to join our LoveReading Star Books and is of course one of my Liz Picks of the Month.
Lion follows internationally collected artist Mark Adlington's three-year mission to find lions in six very different habitats across East and Southern Africa. The resulting body of stunning paintings, drawings and sketchbooks represent the countless months of patient waiting, observation and interaction which have given the artist a unique insight into this most beautiful of big cats. With written contributions from frontline lion conservationists, without whose help and support the project would have been impossible, this is a book which will delight and inform art and nature lovers alike. Since the appearance of the Hohlenstein-Stadel Lion Man, the first ever human artwork, some 40,000 years ago, lions in art have surrounded us as symbols of royalty, power, evangelists, constellations and even the sun. Where lions are increasingly not, is living on this earth in the wild. While it may seem ambitious to take on such iconic subject matter, Adlington wanted to go back to source and create work that reflected the reality of the charismatic duality of this rapidly disappearing apex predator.
Publication date: 07/12/2020
Publisher: Unicorn Publishing Group
|Publication date:||7th December 2020|
|Publisher:||Unicorn Publishing Group|
|Genres:||Books of the Month, Creativity, Gift Books, Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month, Popular Science, Star Books, The Real World, Travel,|
|Collections:||Our Favourite Books of 2020,|
Mark Adlington has always travelled extensively in search of wildlife; his principal obsession since early childhood. He works extensively on site before returning to the studio to recreate the immediacy of his responses to the animals, using various and oft en mixed media. Mark exhibits regularly both in London and abroad, and is represented by the John Martin Gallery in Mayfair, London, and by the Bridgeman Art Library, which whom he is one of their most downloaded contemporary artists. Mark Adlington's fl uid watercolour otters were used to illustrate Unicorn's bestselling centenary edition of Gavin Maxwell's Ring of Bright Water, ...More About Mark Adlington