Restless Brilliance: The Story of J.A. Baker and The Peregrine
The Peregrine by J.A. Baker was first published in 1967. The book was an immediate success. Reviews called it a masterpiece of nature writing and it won several awards. Since then, Baker’s unique poetic writing has continued to inspire a new generation of nature writers and naturalists, and The Peregrine was recently voted one of the UK’s top 10 favourite nature books. But despite all this success, very little was known about Baker himself.
John Alec Baker (1926 – 1987) was born, and lived almost his whole life, in Chelmsford. His writing is based on walks and cycle rides around the Blackwater estuary, Danbury Hill and the Chelmsford area. Here he followed and studied peregrine falcons, condensing all his observations into the book The Peregrine.
“For ten years I spent all my winters searching for that restless brilliance, for the sudden passion and violence that peregrines flush from the sky.”
In this exhibition we explore Baker’s life, his love of nature and writing through the archive of his work held by the Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex. It is the first time that this archive has been on public display.
This exhibition is a collaboration between Chelmsford Museum and the Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex.