Gavin Bridson

By Myers, Robin | The Independent (London, England), February 22, 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Gavin Bridson


Myers, Robin, The Independent (London, England)


Bibliographer and librarian

As the son of a book-collector and grandson of an antiquarian bookseller, Gavin Bridson had bibliophily in his blood. His bibliographical output in graphic art printing and natural history illustration was prodigious. A Guide to Nineteenth Century Colour Printers (1975), jointly with Geoffrey Wakeman, was followed by Printmaking & Picture Printing: a bibliographical guide to artistic and industrial techniques in Britain, 1750-1900 (1984). After Wakeman's death in 1987, Bridson continued alone. His last letter announced the impending completion of his "Historical Directory of Graphic Arts Printers in the British Isles, 1750-1900" - if over- large for paper publication, then to be available online.

In natural history, his first publication was Natural History Manuscript Resources in the British Isles (1980, with Valerie Phillips and Anthony Harvey). The History of Natural History: an annotated bibliography (1994), revised in four volumes, will be published by the Linnean Society later this year. In 1990 came, with James White, Plant, Animal & Anatomical Illustration in Art & Science: a bibliographical guide from the 16th century to the present day. His exhibition catalogue Printmaking in the Service of Botany (1986) was followed by American Botanical Prints of Two Centuries (2003), for which he was awarded the medal of the American Historical Print Collectors Society in 2005 - in 1992, the Society for the History of Natural History had awarded him their Founder's Medal.

Gavin Bridson was the son of the BBC producer D.G. Bridson, and Vera Richardson, a fabric designer. After a disrupted and unhappy childhood - evacuation, with his twin sister, Hermione, was traumatic; his parents split up, and his mother converted to Roman Catholicism and moved to Braunton in Devon - Gavin was sent to Douai Abbey, a Benedictine foundation in Berkshire. There he nearly died of pneumonia and pleurisy, but apart from recollections of interminable chapel services and choir singing, school seems largely to have passed him by - he made no lasting friends, sat no public examinations, and left school at 16 to work in a television shop. He built his own radio and became a wireless ham.

Loving jazz, he began studying its history and buying records, eventually amassing a vast collection and an encyclopaedic knowledge. In later life, he never rested until he had researched every aspect of a subject, whether for work or a leisure pursuit. In 1954 he was called up for National Service in the Royal Hampshire Regiment, and saw active combat in Malaya (as it then was) as a drill sergeant in intelligence. This gave him a taste for detective work, which by a circuitous route, via the police, which he joined on being demobbed, eventually led him to bibliographical research.

He had envisaged being engaged in forensic work, but crime was low in Torquay and filling up a charge sheet by booking women parked on double-yellow lines not at all to his taste.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Gavin Bridson
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?