I enjoyed choosing a favourite book illustration for the Guardian, December 2012. Eventually I plumped for Hogarth’s illustrations to Tristram Shandy.

I've written forewords to two wonderful books, both responding to the history of particular places. Jonathan Newdick's Out of Time? is the culmination of a project in which Newdick studied the barns, stables and outhouses to be found within a few miles of his home in Petworth, Sussex. The book reproduces his exquisitely crafted, stylish and sometimes witty drawings of these forgotten buildings in their landscapes, and includes Newdick's reflections on the past and future of rural places.

redundant stable

Redundant Stable near Petworth, Jonathan Newdick, 2012

Toller Fratrum by Judith Stainton (Little Toller Books, 2012) tells the history of a Dorset parish which was once home to the Knights Templar. Beautifully produced by Little Toller Books (a small publishing house which has done much to revive interest in the classics of nature-writing and local history), the book includes photographs of the mesmerising Norman carvings in the church of St Basil.

toller fratum