Writing on the Wall
100 Iconic Blue Plaques Commemorating Britain's History
Across Britain, blue plaques on houses record the notable people who lived there: writers, artists, musicians, actors, sportsmen and women, scientists, politicians and social reformers. In this celebration of individual achievement, Mike Read, who helped create a series of plaques for BBC Music Day in 2017, presents 100 of these memorials. Each entry tells the story of the personality commemorated, from David Bowie to William Shakespeare, and contains an often surprising link to the next featured plaque.
The Story of The Jesuits' Church in London
When the Jesuits built their Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mayfair in the 1840s, Catholic worship was still a controversial topic in England, so the modest façade on a quiet side street gave little idea of the splendour within. This handsome book charts for the first time the heritage of a pioneering church that drew such eminent converts as Evelyn Waugh and Edith Sitwell, while commissioned photographs illustrate its magnificent decoration.
Ancient Astronomy and the English Public House
Why are some pubs called ‘The Seven Stars’? Hugh Kolb has analysed the surviving pubs and their history and the symbolism of Seven Stars over the past 3,000 years to find the answer. In chapters illustrated with photographs of the pubs, Kolb pursues topics as diverse as the origins of hostelries, the immaculate conception, the solar system and the Anglo-Saxons, and concludes that the Seven Stars are the Pleiades – the ancient Greek Dionysians’ celestial bunch of grapes.
The Little White Bear
In this dreamlike wintry tale, written, illustrated and lithographed by influential textile designer Enid Marx (a friend and contemporary of Eric Ravilious), the Little White Bear jumps onto a boat full of wartime shipwrecked sailors and, after sharing adventures with an Eskimo family, accompanies them to safety in time for Christmas. Age 4+
The Cookbook Notebook
This post-war recipe book shows how housewives cooked up feasts on meagre rations. From basics such as Boiled Rice or Marrow Soup to Lobster au Gratin, Cold Oxtail Jelly and Figues Flambées, the recipes are presented without introduction, but with useful tips and black-line prints from Edward Bawden.
The Power of Letterforms: Handwritten, Printed, Cut or Carved
How they Affect us All
Rosemary Sassoon shows how letterforms, whether handwritten, printed, cut or carved, affect our everyday lives in myriad ways, from the different styles of teaching handwriting and how they can influence future attitudes and creativity, to the manipulative role of lettering and type design in advertising.
Lettering from Formal to Informal
A Journey With Pen and Brush
Having begun formal letterform training over 60 years ago, Sassoon gradually developed an informal style of her own and now has various children’s educational fonts named after her. This highly illustrated guide charts her progress through the stages of her career as packaging designer, teacher and type designer, featuring examples of her own work in chronological order and incorporating pieces from some of her students.
Negley Farson (1890–1960) was an American author, adventurer, foreign correspondent (present at the Bolshevik Revolution) and a renowned fisherman. He also, allegedly, partied with F Scott Fitzgerald and out-drank Ernest Hemingway. This autobiography-cum-fishing book describes his experiences of river fishing while travelling in countries from Norway to southern Chile. First published in 1942. Illustrated by CF Tunnicliffe.
George Smart the Tailor of Frant
Artist in Cloth & Velvet Figures
Using off-cuts from his tailoring fabrics, George Smart created works now recognized as folk art. Exhibited at Tate Britain in 2014, this subsequent publication showcases 70 of Smart’s artworks, and pieces together a biography of the artist’s scantly recorded life.
Fishing and Flying
A wartime pilot who flew in the Battle of Britain and with the Fleet Air Arm, Terence Horsley (d.1947) was also a dedicated angler. His memoir begins by extolling the joys of flying, then cuts to 1940 and a riverbank where he meets another off-duty pilot fishing, enjoying the river as it ‘anaesthetises the unquiet mind’. Illustrated by CF Tunnicliffe.
Reliving the Life of Sir Francis Chichester
Famous for making the first solo circumnavigation of the globe in Gipsy Moth IV, Francis Chichester only took up sailing in his fifties to exercise the navigational skills he had developed as a pilot before the war. This biography traces his life from his childhood and schooling, through the fortune he built in New Zealand, his pioneering aviation in the 1930s, and his battle with cancer from the late 1950s, to the historic ocean voyages that made his name in the 1960s.
The Natural History of Selborne
Gilbert White (1720–1798) compiled this famous book from his letters to two other naturalists, a common way of writing scientific works at the time. What was so original and appealing about White’s natural history was its personal, even poetic approach, using all the senses to observe nature. The book has never been out of print since it first appeared in 1789; this attractive In Arcadia edition presents the original text with later woodcuts by Claire Oldham.
The Angler's Guide
In 1816, TF Salter abridged his earlier Angler’s Guide to provide the novice with this affordable work of ‘real practical Information on the Art of taking Fish’ (‘the words catch and caught are seldom used by anglers’, according to his glossary). There are chapters on each type of fish and appropriate techniques, with illustrations by the author.
The most famous man in Europe in the period immediately predating the invention of photography, Arthur Wellesley was the subject of painters, sculptors and miniaturists from the period of his first successes in Iberia in 1809 to his death in 1852 and beyond. This highly illustrated book examines the many portraits of the Duke of Wellington, places them in the context of key events in his life and also provides a catalogue of works by artist, from Goya to Wilkie.
Swimming with Dali
And Other Encounters with Artists
As art critic for various newspapers and magazines and presenter of radio programmes and television documentaries, Edwin Mullins met, and sometimes formed friendships with, many of the leading artists from the last half century. This book comprises his personal memories of artists including Henry Moore, Oskar Kokoschka, Barbara Hepworth and Graham Sutherland; shorter pieces on his ‘brief encounters’ with, among others, Picasso and Giacometti; and ‘strange encounters’ such as the odd episode involving Stephen Ward.
A Very British Modernist
Steven Heffer is a distinctively British artist, and though many of his boldly geometrical compositions hover on the brink of abstraction, they are suffused by the landscapes he loves: the Thames Estuary, and the cliffs and downs of Sussex. This first monograph on his work spans more than 20 years, and reproduces more than 100 paintings, including landscapes, architecture, abstracts, nudes and still lifes, while the art historian Edward Lucie-Smith assesses Heffer’s place in the continuing story of British painting.
Although Sarah Raphael was only 40 when she died in 2001, she had, in the words of William Packer, ‘reached long ago that mature confidence of herself as an artist to trust the work itself to take her wherever it wished to go’. This volume surveys her life and work, from early portraits to the abstract Strip series of the late 1990s and the Childhood Cube, commissioned for the Millennium Dome. With a foreword by the artist’s father, Frederic Raphael.
The Master's Muse
Artists' Cats and Dogs
Matisse’s dogs dance in a circle, Turner’s dog walks with his master into a vortex of fiery light, while Rachel Whiteread’s dog sits mournfully in front of a cast of his kennel. Thinking about what Marc Chagall’s dog might look like prompted Barratt to begin his paintings and prints of dogs and cats, each executed in the style of the animal’s owner. Altogether there are 99 cat or dog portraits, poking gentle fun at artists from Holbein to Tracy Emin.
Lucky to be an Artist
Unity Spencer (1930–2017) was the daughter of two artists, Stanley and Hilda Spencer, and a significant painter in her own right. In this memoir, written shortly before her death, she looks back over her unconventional upbringing, her studies at the Slade School of Art, and her subsequent career. Extensively illustrated with her own work, that of her parents, and vintage photographs, it offers a unique glimpse of the artistic life. With a foreword by Jon Snow.
The Kama Sutra Colouring Book
A compendium of advice on love, sex and family life, the Hindu text known as the Kama Sutra was probably compiled in the second century CE from earlier texts, and it is best known for its practical advice about sexual positions. This adult colouring book provides intricate line drawings based on illustrations of those chapters. Sexually explicit.
Jewels from Imperial St Petersburg
Soon after St Petersburg was established in 1703, jewellers began setting up workshops, and the art flourished further under the reigns of successive queens later that century. In this highly illustrated and informative volume, the author, herself born into a family of St Petersburg goldsmiths, uses letters, portraits, diaries, anecdotes and personal documents to trace the history of individual brooches, bracelets, rings and other items of jewellery – items that often passed through generations of the same families.
As a figurative artist, Graham Dean (b.1951) regards the body as ‘a holding pen for the emotions’ and aims to communicate his subjects’ inner life through his large-scale and very distinctive watercolours. James Attlee draws on conversations with the artist to provide a full, yet succinct introduction to Dean’s life and work, accompanying over 150 reproductions that follow his artistic career from realist, post-Pop acrylic paintings to the life-size watercolour depictions of the human body.
The Craft of the Lead Pencil
Mervyn Peake is best remembered as the author of the Gormenghast trilogy, but he was also an artist and illustrator of immense skill and originality. In this charming little book, first published in 1946 and illustrated with his own work, he explains the secrets of pencil drawing – perspective, proportion, direction of light, thickness of line, light and shadow – in the simplest and clearest terms.
Albion's Glorious Ile
The Shyres of England & Wales in IV Volumes
Each of these four volumes begins with verses from Poly-Olbion – a 17th-century poem by Michael Drayton – accompanied by black-and-white maps of the various regions of England, showing geographical features represented by gods, nymphs and faeries. These are colouring books, but not in the contemporary sense: the black-line images should be carefully washed over with watercolours, according to cartographic tradition. Slipcased.
The Hermitage Dogs
Treasures from the State Hermitage Museum
Archaeologists have shown that dogs, ‘our first allies’, were living with humans as far back as 32,000 years ago. Drawing on the superb art collections of the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, this book explores many aspects of that human-canine alliance including the role of dogs in ancient myth, the symbolism of the dog in art, many types of working dog, the dogs of the Romanovs from Peter the Great to Nicholas II and, finally, the companion dog – man’s best friend.
The Hermitage Cats
Treasures from the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Through time and across cultures, from Gods in ancient Egypt to mousers in state service in the Hermitage Museum today, this book explores cats’ interactions with humans. Drawing on the museum’s sculptures, paintings and prints, it describes and illustrates attitudes to cats and their appearances in art, whether stealing game in 17th-century European still lifes or being buried by processions of triumphant mice in 20th-century Russian prints.
Earth to Earth
A Natural History of Churchyards
As protected sacred places, churchyards provide a tranquil environment in which wild plants and animals can thrive even when their nearby natural habitats have been destroyed. With photographs, newly commissioned drawings and passages from literature, Professor Buczacki celebrates this abundance of nature among the headstones, exploring the long history of our churchyards and describing the species most commonly found there, from mighty ancient yews to woodlice (nicknamed ‘church pigs’), graveyard beetles and lichens. Foreword by Lord Harries.
With scarecrow-making now a popular folk art, the ragged guardians of the fields seem to be making a comeback; variously strange, menacing and endearing, their place in art and literature is testament to their beguiling nature and their hold on the imagination. Gregory Holyoake presents a beautifully illustrated account of the history and origins of the scarecrow, both out in the fields and in all forms of popular and literary culture, from Shakespeare and Dickens to Beatrix Potter and Hitchcock.
A Collection of Epigrams and Epitaphs Serious and Comic
Originally published in 1933, this little book of witty epigrams and epitaphs by the English writer and poet Martin Armstrong (1882–1974) is illustrated with wood-engravings by Eric Ravilious (1903–1942). The subjects of the verses are 54 professionals or types, ranging from a judge to a snuff-taker and a ‘boarding-house lift man’; and each one is accompanied by its own woodcut.
Art and Life
Though Procktor's paintings define the Sixties as much as those of his friend Hockney, his work has not been well documented. This comprehensive study draws on original interviews to explore his life and art. Illustrated with more than 100 reproductions, it charts Procktor's friendships with figures such as Cecil Beaton, Joe Orton and Princess Margaret, frankly addresses his conflicted sexuality and his alcoholism, and restores this brilliant, self-destructive artist to his rightful place among his contemporaries.