The Seasons

The Complete Folio Anthologies

Illustrated by Petra Börner

Edited by Sue Bradbury

Our seasonal anthologies of prose, poetry, diary entries and musings are brought together in a beautiful set for gifting or collecting and illustrated throughout with Petra Börner’s nature-inspired designs.


The complete collection of the Folio Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer anthologies are presented in a stunning slipcase designed by series illustrator Petra Börner. A year-round ode to the changing seasons, each with its unique characteristics and authors who celebrate their arrival.

Production details

4 volume set

Quarter-bound in blocked cloth with printed paper sides

Set in Caslon

386 pages in total


4 full-colour double-page illustrations and numerous tailpieces per volume

Printed slipcase

˝ x 5½˝

‘Autumn’ – Introduced by Kathleen Jamie

Autumn is a season of mists, bonfires and copper-coloured leaves. William Blake heralds autumn’s ‘golden load’ of fruits; Alison Uttley speaks of its ‘mother-of-pearl mists’ and Pushkin recalls the bittersweet kisses of lovers who must soon part. There are poems by John Clare, Emily Brontë, Edward Thomas, Matsuo Bashō and more, and extracts from Walden and Bleak House, as well as from lesser-known works, such as an early 20th-century children’s guide on how to study maple trees. Also included are a homesteader’s notes on making apple butter in 18th-century America.

’Winter’ – Introduced by Susan Cooper

Winter is traditionally beloved of voracious readers, where each shorter day seems to suggest an evening spent curled up by the fire with a good book. We are treated to Charlotte Brontë’s evocation of nature in Jane Eyre, and witness the Northern Lights with Captain Scott: ‘fold on fold the arches and curtains of vibrating luminosity rose and spread across the sky’. Elsewhere we visit Charles Dickens, and learn of the difficulties inherent in capturing images of snowflakes with photographer Wilson Bentley.

‘Spring’ – Introduced by Paul Evans

Spring brings the promise of sunny days and the sweeping-away of winter blues. This affectionate and humorous selection includes work by George Orwell, Rachel Carson, Toni Morrison, P. G. Wodehouse and more. In a passage from The Wind in the Willows, Mole spring-cleans his house before scrambling above ground to roll in ‘the warm grass of a great meadow’. Anton Chekhov is in awe of the River Goltva’s ‘rampant spring waters’ and a world ‘lit by stars, bestrewing every corner of the sky’. Coleridge writes of birds rejoicing, while his friend Wordsworth meditates on the passage of time in his famous ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality’.

‘Summer’ – Introduced by Storm Dunlop

Summer is the season of freedom, discovery and a lifetime of magical childhood memories. Elizabeth David recounts the pleasure of simple picnics on the banks of the Seine. Bill Bryson travels back to the iconic American summer of 1927 with Babe Ruth, Al Capone and Henry Ford all cited in his evocative overview. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic a decade earlier, Siegfried Sassoon delights in the ‘pale gold of the wheat-field’ as he journeys to London on a hospital train across the landscape he fought to save during the First World War.

Art for all seasons

The set is presented in a stunning artist-designed slipcase and is illustrated with a series of striking double-page designs and incidental motifs by Petra Börner. The London-based Swedish-born artist specialises in nature-inspired themes and her work has been exhibited all over the world. Börner has worked across all the anthologies and her designs move fluidly through each season with an apposite colour palette and imagery that matches the change in weather and tempo. Börner also created each book’s elegant binding design.

about the editor and introducers

Sue Bradbury became Editorial Director of The Folio Society in 1984, a position she held for twenty-five years. Her own publications include a translation of Three Tragedies by Federico García Lorca, Midnight Madonna (1995), a novel set in the Spanish Civil War, the biography Joanna, George and Henry: A Pre-Raphaelite Tale of Art, Love and Friendship (2012), and she also collaborated with Robert Fox on his magisterial four-volume Eyewitness to History for The Folio Society. She was awarded the OBE in 2010 for services to the publishing industry.

Kathleen Jamie is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including The Tree House (2004), which won the Forward Prize for best poetry collection of the year, and The Overhaul, which won the Costa Award for Poetry in 2012. She has twice won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and three of her collections have been shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed Findings (2005) and Sightlines (2012), both collections of essays and observations on nature and landscape. Kathleen Jamie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Stirling.

Susan Cooper has written for theatre and television but is best-known as an author of books for children and young adults. Her five-book sequence The Dark is Rising won the Newbery Medal, a Newbery Honor and two Carnegie Honour Awards, and was published in a Folio edition. Her most recent novel is Ghost Hawk. Susan Cooper lives in the United States, where she has received the American Library Association’s lifetime Margaret A. Edwards Award for ‘a significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature’.

Paul Evans is a writer, broadcaster, senior lecturer in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and award-winning playwright, best known for his ‘Country Diary’ in the Guardian newspaper and various natural history programmes and drama-documentaries for BBC Radio 4. He is the author of Herbaceous (2014) and Field Notes from the Edge: Journeys through Britain’s Secret Wilderness (2016), and lives in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, where he was born.

Storm Dunlop is a meteorology and astronomy expert whose books have been translated into 23 languages. His extensive published works include Philip’s Guide to Weather Forecasting (2008), the Oxford Dictionary of the Weather (2008), Come Rain or Shine: A Weather Miscellany (2015), Weather: A Very Short Introduction (2017) and How to Read the Weather (2018). He is a Fellow of both the Royal Astronomical Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He has also lectured widely on both subjects. 

About Petra Börner

Petra Börner, originally from Sweden, is an artist and illustrator based in London. She studied Fashion Design at St Martin’s School of Art in London, and her first commissions came from Elle and Vogue. Through numerous commissions by clients including the V&A, Oscars, Carven and Penguin Random House, her signature style features in a variety of cross-industry collaborations. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, at the National Portrait Gallery, Claire de Rouen, the Design Museum in London, Portefoin in Paris, as well as at the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo.