Caught by the River

The New Sylva

25th April 2014


The New Sylva was created by Dr. Gabriel Hemery – a forest scientist and author – and Sarah Simblet – a tutor at the Ruskin School of Art and a lecturer at the National Gallery. It coincides with the 350th anniversary of horticulturalist and diarist John Evelyn’s landmark work, Sylva which, in 1664, was the first ever comprehensive study of British trees and also doubled up as the first book ever to be published by the Royal Society.

More than three centuries on, and our woodland has of course changed dramatically, which is why Hemery and Simblet came up with The New Sylva – a contemporary version about British trees and woodland today, taking inspiration from Evelyn’s opus.


Out now on Bloomsbury and priced at £50 it’s a sumptuous hardback and it’s been brought to life by breathtaking artist and co-author Simblet, who “captures the delicacy, strength and beauty of the trees through 200 exquisite drawings, created from life in woodlands across the British Isles.”

Willow (1)

A number of events are taking place to mark the year of publication, including fine art exhibitions at some of our the UK’s best botanic gardens, woodland trails at two arboreta featuring drawings and content of the book, and appearances by the authors at literary festivals. Go here for an up-to-date list. And follow the New Sylva blog here .



The Sylva Foundation is a charitable trust that promotes stewardship of woodlands. Have a look at what they do here .