Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

YOU have to admire Miller’s; the minute there’s a hint of a trend or the next big thing, they publish a populist book on collecting it. This is the latest in the Collecting series which include the very popular books on collecting the 1950s, 1960s and the 1970s. And now its retro: the key designers of the 20th century from c.1925 are given the “why, how, which, how much, what you should buy” treatment.

So, we have which designers hold their value and whose are the names to look out for, how do you spot an original prototype from a – look away now – factory repro, and with an emphasis on collecting, why one piece is more valuable than another.

Sally Hoban collects 20th century design and comments, tellingly, in her introduction that “people are redefining the way they live in the 21st century...new types of homes are leading to new spaces to furnish. The sleek, cool lines of Modernist furniture fit much better than a Chippendale chair in large, minimal loft spaces”.

Internet sites on modern design are booming – the one dedicated to Charles and Ray Eames is particuarly comprehensive and for 20th century design as a whole, the fairs circuit has opened up to modern design classics, with big fair names such as Olympia changing their dateline to embrace modern pieces from across Europe and even museums are getting in on the 20th century design classic/ icons act.

The book is well laid out, well written and well researched, similar in style to one of the best books I’ve reviewed this year – Robin & Lucienne Day: Pioneers of Contemporary Design by Lesley Jackson, published by Mitchell Beazley ISBN 18400072395 £30 hb) – and with its 450 colour illustrations is divided into four parts each dealing with a different movement: Modernism, Mid-Century Design, Pop & Radical Design to Postmodernism to the Present. Collectors will warm to the price guide, and dealers, markets, worldwide online suppliers, designers’ websites, museums and collections will warm to the directory.