Newnham’s Iain Bain royal book design published

PUBLISHED: 12:02 30 June 2018 | UPDATED: 18:20 04 July 2018

Tributes have been paid to Iain Bain, former David's Bookshop chairman and hammer thrower. Picture: Courtesy of David Walker

Tributes have been paid to Iain Bain, former David's Bookshop chairman and hammer thrower. Picture: Courtesy of David Walker


A book of illustrations of plants in Prince Charles’ property in Romania, which was designed by late Newnham resident Iain Bain, is set to be published.

Iain, who died in April aged 84, had lived in the village for nearly 60 years.

Throughout his life he had taken on many interests – he was a former champion hammer thrower who later became head of publications at the Tate Gallery, and was for many years chairman of directors at David’s Bookshop in Letchworth.

The final works by Iain – A Transylvania Florilegium, the first volume of which is to be published on Tuesday – is a collection of watercolour pictures of plants at the Prince’s Romanian home, which he designed.

Seven years in the making, all 150 copies of the book were handmade and signed by Prince Charles, and will sell for £12,950 for both volumes, with profits going to the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation.

In 2008, Iain was the designer and production manager for a book of watercolours of the flowers at the Prince’s home Highgrove – which A Transylvania Florilegium is inspired by – published to mark the royal’s 60th birthday.

Other books he designed include David’s Book of Letchworth, a history of and guide to the garden city published by David’s Bookshop.

His knowledge of print and engraving were also utilised in setting up some of the exhibits at Ashwell village museum.

The former owner of David’s Bookshop, William Armitage, said: “Iain’s breadth of vision and real interest in the community he lived in made him an ideal chairman for David’s.”

In addition to his royal book designs, Iain was a world-renowned expert on print and design history, notably the work of the 18th/19th century engraver and natural history author Thomas Bewick, and gained a range of awards for his research.

He was also an accomplished player of the bagpipes and – probably his greatest love as a musician – the Northumbrian small pipes, on which he gave performances locally.

There is a memorial service planned in Iain’s honour for September, which will be held at St Mary’s Church in Ashwell.

He is survived by his wife Susan – they married in 1958 – and their daughters Christina and Catriona.

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