The J.A. Baker Archive

  • Thu 14 Mar - Fri 1 Nov 24


  • Colchester Campus

    Albert Sloman Library, Floor 1 landing (outside Special Collections)

  • Event type

    Arts, culture and performances

  • Event organiser


  • Contact details

    Dr Sarah Demelo

Explore a selection of items from the J.A. Baker archive, from the University of Essex Special Collections.

J.A. Baker (1926–1987) was an English writer renowned for his work, The Peregrine. Despite a reclusive life in Essex, Baker’s intense fascination with nature, particularly birds of prey, became the cornerstone of his literary legacy.

The Peregrine, published in 1967, intricately details Baker’s observation of falcons, demonstrating his unparalleled ability to blend poetic prose with acute, almost scientific, observation.

A self-taught naturalist, Baker’s work received acclaim posthumously, influencing environmental literature and drawing fans such as Werner Herzog, Chris Packham, Robert Macfarlane, Sir David Attenborough, and Shaunak Sen.

His legacy endures through the timeless impact of The Peregrine, a testament to his unmatched ability to articulate the beauty and brutality of the natural world.

The items on display in this exhibit are part of the J.A. Baker archive held in the University of Essex Special Collections, Albert Sloman Library. This display coincides with the exhibition Restless Brilliance: The story of J.A. Baker and The Peregrine at Chelmsford Museum from 22 March – 3 November 2024. Read more about the exhibition which is co-curated by Dr Sarah Demelo, Curator of ESCALA, Art and Special Collections at the University of Essex and Sarah Harvey, Curatorial and Learning Officer, at the Chelmsford Museum.

Also on display in the Albert Sloman Library is Daniel & Clara: The Watcher and the Bird, a new body of work by Mersea Island based artists Daniel & Clara exploring the human gaze through the act of bird-watching. The work is inspired by The Peregrine and will be on show until 15 September 2024.

The J.A. Baker Archive