Why do we pick up pebbles on the beach? What is it we see in them, and why do we take them home to display on our shelves? Is it their inherent beauty, their infinite variation, or simply their associations with a happy time and place?
In this book – part social history and part practical guide – writer and pebble collector Christopher Stocks unearths the sometimes surprising story of our love-affair with pebbles, and considers how the way we see them today has been influenced over the years by artists, authors and even archaeologists.
Printmaker Angie Lewin is widely admired for her alluringly stylish images of the natural world. She celebrates the experience of walking and sketching along the British coastline, often incorporating pebbles in her limited edition prints and paintings. Many of these feature in the book alongside a series of new images.
'For anyone unable to walk along a beach without stopping every few steps to pick up a lozenge of quartz washed by the receding tide or a grey-slate skimmer, this book is an ideal companion.'
'As someone who lives on Chesil Beach – perhaps the most famous shingle beach in the UK – Christopher Stocks is uniquely well-placed to talk about the visceral appeal of pebbles: the sounds they make as they are ground together by the waves and their physical properties – their “weight and heft, their smooth shapes seeming almost designed to be held in the hand”.'