Obituary: Richard Sidney Richmond Fitter (1913-2005)

Published on 01 February 2006 in Obituaries

Naturalist series. I bought London’s Natural For birdwatchers in the Britain of 1952, a newly History soon after it was published, and it was published bird guide by Richard Fitter, and both a revelation and an inspiration to a young illustrated by Richard Richardson, came as a birdwatcher living in the suburbs. I still think it revelation. It introduced many innovations, the is one of the most original books in the series, most obvious of which was to have paintings of with its blend of history, nature, literary allulookalike birds together on the same page, with sions, and urban ecology. The publication of the outline of a sparrow to give a quick idea of this book marked a watershed, for Richard left scale. The text was a mine of information, there London for Oxfordshire, and devoted himself were keys to aspects of appearance, behaviour to writing about country matters, initially as and habits, and a useful migration table; and all deputy editor of The Countryman, and in a in a book which would actually go in the column for The Observer newspaper. pocket. It brought the author’s and illustrator’s While in London he had taken particular names before a national audience, but Richard interest in the Black Redstart Phoenicurus Fitter was not one to rest on his laurels, and ochruros, and following his first note about it in became a prolific author and conservationist. BB in 1941, he went on to document its status in Richard was born in London,

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