Artist’s amazing archive collection from his lifetime’s work is worth the expense, writes ANDREW FFRENCH.

SOME books are worth buying a coffee table for, and The David Shepherd Archive Collection is certainly one of them.

The collection, selected by the artist from his lifetime’s work, includes a number of new paintings as well as rarely seen and unpublished works.

The large-format volume measures 13 x 18 inches and only 1,000 are being produced, each numbered and signed by the artist.

The collection is being published to celebrate the 80th birthday of the London-born author, who is appearing at the Oxford Literary Festival tomorrow.

Inside the book are more than 100 images accompanied by the author’s comments and anecdotes about painting the pictures.

The collection, which is stitched and handbound in English vellum and leather, covers the whole range of the artist’s subjects – African and Indian wildlife, North American landscapes and nature, English rural and domestic scenes, portraits, Victoriana, aviation and military scenes and, one great passion of the artist’s, steam trains.

One of the prints, Tiger Haven, is over 50 x 80cm in size and is individually numbered and signed by the conservationist.

Anyone who buys the book will be supporting wildlife, as £100 from the sale of each copy will be donated to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, a charity which the artist established in 1984.

There is a DVD with the book which shows how Mr Shepherd created and produced the book which looks back at his whole career.

Mr Shepherd is appearing at the literary festival at Christ Church tomorrow at noon to talk about his work as an artist and as a conservationist.

* The David Shepherd Archive Collection is published by Sark-based Gateway Publishing Ltd, price £2,500, and has been edited by Amy McKee and Oxford-based publisher Chris Andrews