In the Belly of an Ox: The Unexpected Photographic Adventures of Richard and Cherry Kearton

by Rebecca Bond

As young boys, Richard and Cherry Kearton explored the Yorkshire countryside where... read more

As young boys, Richard and Cherry Kearton explored the Yorkshire countryside where they lived. “Everywhere they looked, they saw something to solve. For two boys in the hills of Yorkshire, it was a time of magical discovery.” Later they both lived in London, but took every opportunity to return to the countryside. When Cherry took a photograph of a thrush’s nest, Richard had an ambitious idea. Could the brothers revisit their childhood experience and take photographs of every type of bird nest in Britain? They could, and they did. While still working at their regular jobs, the pair left London in the pre-dawn hours to find nests to photograph: under hedgerows, in wetlands, high in trees. Crouching beneath grass-colored blankets, or hiding inside a hay wagon, a fabricated tree trunk, or even a “hollow ox made from a real bullock hide stretched over a light wooden frame,” Cherry took photos of birds in their natural settings. British Birds’ Nests was published in 1895, as “the first nature book ever entirely illustrated with photographs.” Watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations of the brothers at their task accompany an exceptional text, and the book’s final pages offer photographs from their book. (Ages 7–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010

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