1st December – The Partridge


‘On the First day of Christmas my true love sent to me…
a Partridge in a pear tree’

Illustration of a partridge

‘The Partridge’ from Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds, Vol I (761 BEW)

To start off our Special Collections #ChristmasCountdown is an image of The Partridge from Thomas Bewick’s History of British Land Birds, Vol I.

“The length of this bird is about thirteen inches: The bill is light brown; eyes hazel; the general colour of its plumage is brown and ash, elegantly mixed with black…Partridges are chiefly found in temperate climates; the extremes of heat and cold are equally unfavourable to them: They are no where in greater plenty than in this island, where, in their season, they contribute to our most elegant entertainments”. (pg. 305-306)

History of British Birds is published in two volumes. It was the first field guide for non-specialists and contains accurate illustrations of bird species. Aspects from the History of British Birds is used in poetry and literature.

If you are interested in more items by Thomas Bewick, view more in the Bradshaw-Bewick Collection.