2004 is shaping up well for arts publishing, and publishers of books which cover the genre also reported excellent sales last year, particularly in the run-up to Christmas. Here, the Antiques Trade Gazette takes a look at some of the books on offer this year, many of which will be reviewed.
BOOKS on jewellery are currently publishing hits, with Hatchards of Piccadilly recording particularly strong sales before Christmas of Geoffrey Munn’s Tiaras, published by the Antique Collectors’ Club, and Judith Miller’s Costume Jewellery from Dorling Kindersley. Buyers at that shop were also quite happy to fork out £200 for Queens’ Jewels, by Vincent Meylan, published by Assouline in a blue velvet slip case and with a limited-edition print of the Queen’s diamond crown of state, worn at her coronation. A hardback edition about the ”mythical universe of which these jewels are the most powerful symbol” is now available for the paupers at the back at £39.95 (ISBN 284323364X).
Look out too for Marina B: The Art of Jewellery Design by Viviane Jutheau de Witt – to be published by Skira in May at £50hb (ISBN 8884916399), which is the first book to bring together more than 450 of jewellery designer Marina Bulgari’s contemporary designs. Marina, who was raised in “lands chosen
by the gods”, and who started her career in the family goldsmith business, had a second life in the early 1970s, working as a skipper in the major sailing regattas.
The Royal Collection has whipped out 500 precious Georgian pieces, including sculpture, furniture, paintings, drawings, books, ceramics, silver, gold and jewellery, and wrapped them up in an exhibition in the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace starting on March 26 and grandly titled George III & Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste. This comes with a book of the same title, by Jan Roberts and published by Thames & Hudson at £40hb (ISBN 1902163737). As an added attraction, the exhibition will “include poignant items made to celebrate the King’s first recovery from porphyria in 1789.”
George III’s image was that of the mad king and the monarch who lost America, but his son, the Prince Regent’s wild folly at Brighton was a hymn to extravagant eccentricity – “mad as a balloon” was the author’s description in Jessica Rutherford’s new book A Prince’s Passion: the Life of the Royal Pavilion. This adds new and vivid details to life in the pavilion, with a royal household so vast and bureaucratic that the lord steward’s office would be responsible for laying a fire and the lord chamberlain’s office would send someone to light it. Published by the Royal Pavilion, Libraries and Museums at £14.99hb (ISBN 0948723548).
The roots of the British Library go back hundreds of years, to the libraries of the royal, monastic and academic collections which were fused over time into the National Collection of today. The range is enormous and the choice for Nicolas Barker’s Treasures of the British Library are offered as landmarks in history. ISBN 0712348441 £19.95hb.
Eloquent Witnesses: Bookbindings and their History, by Mirjam Foot, looks at the change in direction of the study of bookbinding history, ISBN 0712348271 £35hb, while one of the British Library’s most popular reference books, the ABC for Book Collectors, by John Carter and Nicolas Barker, will soon be out in its eighth edition, offering definition and analysis of the technical language of book collecting interspersed with comments on fakes and pirated editions, ISBN 0712348220 £12.95hb.
In July, John Murray are publishing The Exiled Collector: William Bankes and the Making of the English Country House, by Anne Sebba. In 1841, William John Bankes, former Tory MP and pioneer Egyptologist, was caught in compromising circumstances with a guardsman in Green Park. Aware that sodomy carried the death penalty, Bankes fled to Venice, and the government declared him an outlaw – a vindictive and archaic procedure that entitled them to seize his house, Kingston Lacy in Dorset. Bankes eventually turned his personal tragedy to posterity’s benefit by continuing to collect obsessively for a house he no longer owned and which he was able to visit in secret only at the end of his life. ISBN 0719563283 £20hb.
To tapestry and Tracy Chevalier’s new novel The Lady and the Unicorn, published by Harper Collins at £15hb, which uses as its inspiration the six exquisite Lady and the Unicorn tapestries woven c.1500, and hanging in the Musée de Cluny in Paris.
Vivienne Westwood, the rebel queen of fashion design, whose clothes are variously described as orgasmic and ironic, and who turned up at Buckingham Palace wearing no knickers, is finally being given the highest accolade of her career; a huge retrospective at the V&A in April, in advance of which prices are rocketing for Westwood-designed clothes and, in particular, for her vertiginously high shoes.
Fashion is now seen as high art and has enjoyed an increased focus by publishers; to accompany the exhibition and published in March is V&A Publications’ Vivienne Westwood at £30hb (ISBN 1851774068). New is the V&A Contemporary series and one of the first two titles is Brilliant: Lighting Design, by Jane Pavitt, ISBN 185177 4084 £14.95pb.
Colourful too were the cast pottery Chelsea figurines of local London characters near to the Cheyne Walk home of potters Charles and Nell Vyse, including Madonna of the World’s End and the Daffodil Woman, and now making strong prices. They also made two types of studio pottery, one based on oriental forms and glazes and the other hand-decorated functional stoneware in modernist Art Deco designs.
For Richard Dennis Publications, author Terence Cartlidge has updated an earlier book on Vyse’s
techniques and glazes, and colour photography is used throughout. Charles Vyse 1882-1971 £15hb (ISBN 0903685949).
From Richard Dennis too, and slightly later than the Christmas winner it would have been, is Louise Irvine’s The Snowman Collectors Book ISBN 0903685957 £20sb. Author/illustrator Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, first published in 1978 about a lonely boy befriending a snowman, is Briggs’ best-selling book and, after the animated film, the Snowman has appeared on a wide range of products, from stationery and ceramics to toilet paper. Richard Dennis also offer British Ceramic Toast Racks for Collectors by Peter and Margaret Crumpton at around £18pb.
For the Antique Collectors Club, Staffordshire Potters 1781-1900, by RK Heywood, has a comprehensive list of manufacturers who worked in the Staffordshire Potteries between 1781 and 1900 and includes a selection of marks employed by some of the lesser potters, (ISBN 1851493700 £45hb), while Meissen Collector’s Catalogue, by Laurence Mitchell, looks to be a valuable reference source for collectors and is due out in June. ISBN 1851494057 £65hb.
The Decanter: An Illustrated History 1650-1950 is Andy McConnell’s long-awaited book for the ACC and offers a history of European and American glassmaking from a decanter perspective. ISBN 1851494286 £45hb.
In Georg Jensen’s centennial year comes Georg Jensen Holloware: The Silver Fund Collection, by David A Taylor and Jason W Laskey. Published by The Silver Fund with more than 500 photographs, all drawn from the Silver Fund’s collection, it includes many rare pieces of Jensen holloware. ISBN 0954673107 £40hb.
Arts Deco and Nouveau won’t lie down; the Antique Collectors Club is offering a revised edition of Art Deco and Other Figures, by Bryan Catley, first published in 1978, which illustrates the largest selection of examples from this period; £45hb (ISBN 1851493824), while in May Dorling Kindersley offer up Judith Miller’s Guide to Art Nouveau at £20hb (ISBN 1405302518).
From Philip Wilson Publishers comes Blasting the Future: Vorticism and the Avant-Garde in Britain 1910-1920, by Dr Jonathan Black, a tie-in with the UK’s first major exhibition on Vorticism for 30 years and currently at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in Canonbury Square, London. The book illustrates works in a wide range of media by England’s only Futurist, CRW Nevinson. ISBN 0856675725 £25hb.
Sold out, and with a reprint planned for March, is Philip Wilson’s Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities by Alan Powers ISBN 0856675679 £29.95hb.
Sure to be a winner is the rather overlooked Post-Impressionist painter Edmond Vuillard. Guy Cogeval’s highly rated book Edouard Vuillard, published by Yale, is the vast catalogue for the current exhibition at the Royal Academy and is available in hardback and softback versions.
The first monograph on the Welsh artist Kyffin Williams (b.1918) will be published in May by Lund Humphries. ISBN 0853318964 £30hb.
The British Museum Press offers a long list of new titles for 2004 including one for numismatists, Badges, by Philip Attwood, which discusses the evolution of the badge and its role in history and which accompanies a summer exhibition at the British Museum ISBN 0714150142 £7.99pb.
The New Books column loves to review books that are privately published or from smaller or less mainstream publishers, so from Libra Printing, 14 Fairfield Avenue, Datchet, Herts (Tel: 01753 546662) comes Ron Earl’s privately printed book, Getting to Know Your Toby Jug, at £13.50 inc. p&p, while Welsh Ceramics in Context; Part I, is edited by Jonathan Gray and published by the Royal Institution of South Wales, The Swansea Museum, ISBN 0950851752 £17.50sb.