Year-End Gift Ideas

Posted in books by Editor on December 14, 2015

I’ve had good intentions of pulling this together for weeks, and now it’s surely of almost no use to anyone in terms of gift ideas. Still, it allows me to expand a bit on the usual scope of the blog, and please, by all means chime in with comments for the brilliant suggestions I should have included! -CH

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From Little, Brown, and Company:

Stacy Schiff, The Witches: Salem, 1692 (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2015), 512 pages, ISBN: 978-0316200608, $32.

db1cccd7e36f23f354b8b249def4f7baThe Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra, the #1 national bestseller, unpacks the mystery of the Salem Witch Trials. It began in 1692, over an exceptionally raw Massachusetts winter, when a minister’s daughter began to scream and convulse. It ended less than a year later, but not before 19 men and women had been hanged and an elderly man crushed to death. The panic spread quickly, involving the most educated men and prominent politicians in the colony. Neighbors accused neighbors, parents and children each other. Aside from suffrage, the Salem Witch Trials represent the only moment when women played the central role in American history. In curious ways, the trials would shape the future republic. As psychologically thrilling as it is historically seminal, The Witches is Stacy Schiff’s account of this fantastical story-the first great American mystery unveiled fully for the first time by one of our most acclaimed historians.

Stacy Schiff is the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, Pulitzer Prize finalist; A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize; and Cleopatra: A Life. Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Named a 2011 Library Lion by the New York Public Library, she lives in New York City.

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From Knopf:

Sven Beckert, Empire of Cotton: A Global History (New York: Knopf, 2014), 640 pages, ISBN: 978-0375414145, $35.

Empire of CottonThe empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners. Sven Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities that are with us today.

In a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful politicians recast the world’s most significant manufacturing industry, combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to make and remake global capitalism. The result is a book as unsettling as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist.

Sven Beckert is the Laird Bell Professor of American History at Harvard University. Holding a PhD from Columbia University, he has written widely on the economic, social, and political history of capitalism. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including from Harvard Business School, the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. He was also a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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From Rizzoli:

Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis and John Richardson, with photographs by Todd Eberle, The House of Thurn und Taxis (New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2015), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-0847847143, $85.

house-of-thurn-und-taxis-coverAdventure through the princely Thurn und Taxis estate, an enchanted palace where 1,000 years of history meets a thoroughly modern family. For 200 years the Thurn und Taxis family have called the palace of St. Emmeram home. Regarded as one of Germany’s finest examples of historicist architecture, the Regensburg residence’s myriad rooms trace centuries of distinctive styles: a Romanesque-Gothic cloister built between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, a neo-Renaissance marble staircase, a number of Rococo and neo-Rococo staterooms, and a Baroque library frescoed in 1737. Celebrated photographer Todd Eberle captures the confluence of high art and grand architecture within the 500-room palace to reveal the curious tale of the Thurn und Taxis family. Complete with stately portraits and scenes of life at St. Emmeram, this monograph offers a glimpse into the world and glamour of one of the most important dynasties of the European aristocracy.

Sir John Richardson is a British art historian and Picasso biographer. Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis is the matriarch of the princely house of the Thurn and Taxis. André Leon Talley is an author and contributing editor of Vogue. Alexander Count von Schoenburg is a journalist and author. Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis is an author and writer for Vogue.

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From Flammarion:

A Day at Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte (Paris: Flammarion, 2015), 192 pages, ISBN: 978-2080201997, $35.

index.pperlAn insider’s tour of the magnificent seventeenth-century castle and gardens, conceived by Le Vau, Le Brun, and Le Nôtre, that inspired the great châteaux of Europe. Vaux le Vicomte’s rich history began in 1641, when infamous finance minister Nicolas Fouquet bought the estate and enlisted architect Louis Le Vau, decorator Charles Le Brun, and garden designer André Le Nôtre to transform it into a lavish residence. His extravagance piqued Louis XIV’s jealousy, and he was thrown into prison for mishandling funds. The château inspired the design of Versailles and was later home to the great chef Vatel, who famously died for his art. This volume traces the château’s history from the seventeenth century through the Belle Époque, World War I, and its public opening in 1968. Exclusive photography and archival documents offer unprecedented access to the château, furnishings, and gardens, and illuminate the extraordinary secrets of court life and centuries of celebrations that include the enchanting candlelit tours held today.

Alexandre de Vogüé, Jean-Charles de Vogüé and Ascanio de Vogüé are brothers who together manage the Vogüé family estate. In 2012, they began to successfully develop a range of business ventures at the Vaux le Vicomte château. Alexandre, Jean-Charles and Ascanio are fifth generation members of the de Vogüé family. Bruno Ehrs is a lifestyle and architectural photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden. His photographs have been featured in over twenty solo exhibitions and have appeared in numerous magazines and books, including One Savile Row (Flammarion 2014). He has also published several art volumes of his work.

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From Other Press:

Chantal Thomas, The Exchange of Princesses, translated by John Cullen (New York: Other Press, 2015), 336 pages, ISBN: 978-1590517024, $17.

Exchange of PrincessesSet in the French and Spanish courts of the eighteenth century, this novel is based on a true story about the fate of two young princesses caught in the intrigues and secrets of the moment. Philippe d’Orléans, the regent of France, has a gangrenous heart—the result of a life of debauchery, alcohol, power, and flattery. One morning in 1721, he decides to marry eleven-year-old Louis XV to the daughter of Philippe V of Spain, who is only four. Orléans hopes this will tie his kingdom to Spain. But were Louis to die without begetting an heir—the likeliness of which is greatly increased by having a child bride—Orléans himself would finally be king. Orléans tosses his own daughter into the bargain, the twelve-year-old Mlle de Montpensier, who will marry the Prince of Asturias, the heir to the Spanish throne. The Spanish court enthusiastically agrees and arrangements are made. The two nations trade their princesses in a grand ceremony in 1722, making bonds that should end the historical conflict. Nothing turns out as expected.

Chantal Thomas is a noted philosopher and writer. She has taught at a number of American universities and is the author of twenty-five works, including novels, histories, short stories, plays, and essays. Her internationally acclaimed novel Farewell, My Queen, a fictional account of Marie Antoinette’s final days in Versailles, won the Prix Femina in 2002 and was made into an award-winning film by Benoit Jacquot, and starred Diane Kruger. A film adaptation of The Exchange of Princesses, to be directed by Marc Dugain, is currently in the works.

John Cullen is the translator of many books from Spanish, French, German, and Italian, including Philippe Claudel’s Brodeck, Juli Zeh’s Decompression, Antonio Skármeta’s A Distant Father, and Yasmina Reza’s Happy Are the Happy. He lives in upstate New York.

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From The Getty:

Bruno Gibert, A King Seen from the Sky (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), 32 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1606064603, $17.

9781606064603_grandeThis delightful book by award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Bruno Gibert is inspired by the true story of the first flight of living creatures in a handmade aircraft. On September 19, 1783, the Montgolfier brothers demonstrated their new invention, the hot-air balloon or montgolfière, at the Palace of Versailles before a large crowd, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Considered too dangerous for human passengers, the experimental vessel carried a sheep, a duck, and a hen in its basket. The balloon flew for about eight minutes, covered a distance of roughly two miles, and reached an altitude of more than 1,500 feet before landing safely. The animals’ balloon ride caused a sensation and the first human flight followed a few months later.

By the end of 1783, Louis XVI had ennobled the Montgolfier family in recognition of the brothers’ important achievements, which perhaps prompted a royal celebration for the animals like the one depicted in the book. In Gibert’s fantasy, the animals anger the king at the fete by describing him as “no bigger than the tiniest snail” when viewed from high above the ground, and Louis imprisons them in the Bastille. While the direct role of talking animals in the storming of the Bastille in 1789 can’t quite be supported by historical evidence, this book does vividly evoke the stirring developments in aeronautics that took place right around the time of the French Revolution. Ages five to seven.

Bruno Gibert is a children’s book author and illustrator; he also writes novels for adults. His book Le Petit Gibert Illustré received the Prix Coup de Coeur du Salon de Montreuil in 2010.

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From Frances Lincoln:

Anna Keay and Caroline Stanford, Landmark: A History of Britain in 50 Buildings, 50 Years of the Landmark Trust (London: Frances Lincoln, 2015), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-0711236455, $40.

9780711236455This engaging and sumptuously illustrated book celebrates the Landmark Trust’s achievement in the protection of British heritage since the Trust was established 50 years ago. From a medieval hall house to the winner of the 2013 Stirling Prize for Architecture, 50 buildings rescued by Landmark from threatened oblivion are presented here that vividly illustrate the history of Britain from 1250 to the present day.

Presented in the order in which they were built, the selected buildings include the unusual, the fantastic, the spectacular, the utilitarian and the enchanting, each one offering a fascinating glimpse into the past of the British people. In telling the stories of how the buildings came to be, how they were used and how they were adapted by subsequent generations, this book brings history to life through the evidence in the buildings our ancestors have left behind. Examples include a 15th-century inn in Suffolk, an Elizabethan hospital in Yorkshire, a lighthouse on Lundy and an Italianate railway station. The Landmark Trust’s often heroic rescue of each of these buildings is also placed in the context of the Trust’s own evolution to date and the history of British conservation practice.

Anna Keay is a historian with a professional specialism in historic buildings. She has a BA in Modern History from Oxford University, and a PhD in 17th-century British history from the University of London. Formerly a curator at Hampton Court Palace and Curatorial Director of English Heritage, she is now Director of the Landmark Trust. Her books include The Magnificent Monarch (2008), about King Charles II; The Elizabethan Tower of London (2001) and The Crown Jewels (2011). She is also a regular contributor to TV and radio. She divides her time between London and King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

Caroline Stanford has been Historian to the Landmark Trust since 2001. She holds a BA in Modern History from Oxford University, an MA in Early Modern History from London University, and an MSc in Historic Conservation from Oxford Brookes University. She has researched many of the Trust’s buildings, participating in Landmark’s rescue of some of Britain’s finest buildings at risk. This combination of academic research and applied practice allows her to write and contribute widely across all building types and periods to all types of media.

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Available from Pentreath & Hall (I can’t say enough good things about both Pentreath’s blog and his shop in London):

John Rocque’s Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster, and Borough of Southwark, 1746, in 24 sheets, £175.

gdm01_1This reproduced publication, measuring 32.5″ (82.5 cm) wide by 22″ (55.9 cm) high, consists of: a cover sheet; an introduction by James Howgego, a past Keeper of Prints and Pictures at the Guildhall Library, London; a key sheet and 24 map sheets, at a scale of 26″ to a mile. The map sheets form a grid eight across and three high, with the image on each sheet being approximately 27″ (68.6 cm) high by 19″ (48.3 cm) wide, thus forming a map area of approximately 12′ 8″ (386 cm) by 6′ 8″ (203 cm) if trimmed and assembled. If the two outer columns were ignored (and their borders transferred to the second and seventh columns), the assembled map area becomes approximately 9′ 6″ (290 cm) wide by 6′ 8″ (203 cm).

The original image was captured, in 1970, by photographic process, which, after being cleaned up and all trace of colouring removed (again by photographic process), resulted in a positive film the same size as the original. This film was then used to create lithographic plates, from which the 1971 print run was taken. The current print run used a digital image, which has been printed lithographically. The Plan is printed on 140 gsm acid free paper, sidestitch bound in 285 gsm card covers.

Exhibition | Strength and Splendor: Wrought Iron

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on December 14, 2015


Florist’s Sign and Bracket, 18th century, France, wrought iron and rolled iron, cut, polychromed, and gilded; fastened with rivets and rings. Sign: 28 × 21 × 5 inches (71.5 × 52.6 × 12.5 cm), bracket: 33 × 52 × 2 inches (84 × 132.5 × 6 cm) (Rouen: Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, inv. LS 2011.0.199)

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Now on view at The Barnes Foundation:

Strength and Splendor: Wrought Iron from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen
The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, 19 September 2015 — 4 January 2016

Curated by Judith Dolkart with Anne-Charlotte Cathelineau

The world’s most important collection of wrought iron objects—door knockers, garden implements, jewelry, keyhole escutcheons, locks, bas reliefs, signs, strongboxes, surgical tools—from the Musée le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen will complement one of the most intriguing collections at the Barnes Foundation: the 887 pieces of European and American metalwork that punctuate the Foundation’s signature wall arrangements of old master and modern paintings.

Escutcheon, 18th century, France, wrought iron and rolled iron, stamped and with openwork, 19.3 × 16.4 × 0.8 cm (Rouen: Musée de la Ferronnerie Le Secq des Tournelles, Inv. LS S.N.3)

Escutcheon, 18th century, France, wrought iron and rolled iron, stamped and with openwork, 19.3 × 16.4 × 0.8 cm (Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Inv. LS S.N.3)

Albert C. Barnes underscored the formal affinities that these objects shared with the “motives and arabesques” in the paintings in his Gallery, neither identifying individual objects nor explaining their use. Often, he combined disparate objects—shoe buckles and door hinges, ladles and hasps—to create new forms. In a 1942 letter to the American artist Stuart Davis, Barnes noted that the anonymous craftsman of such functional items was “just as authentic an artist as a Titian, Renoir, or Cézanne.”

This exhibition will explore the fabrication, function, and intricate ornamentation of approximately 150 masterworks from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen. They range in date from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, and they show iron as unexpectedly versatile, with its capacity to convey both masculine heft and an impossibly fragile delicacy that is hard to square with its industrial image. Objects ennobled with silver and gold inlays show iron as more than base metal. Some are deadly serious in their efficacy; others delight as much by their wit as by their exquisite intricacy—locks that represent their own function, for example, one with a built-in faithful guard dog or one with spring-loaded manacles ready to catch a lock-pick—an 18th-century sign in the shape of a greyhound that looks like something Calder might have made two centuries later, an early electrified bat-shaped night-light.

Assembled in the 19th century by Jean-Louis-Henri Le Secq Destournelles (1818–1882), the celebrated photographer of French architectural monuments, and his son Henri (1854–1925), the Le Secq collection was shown to great acclaim at the Exposition Universelle in 1900 and installed until the 1920s at the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris. In the early 1920s, Le Secq acquired the deconsecrated church of Saint-Laurent in Rouen, where he lived and arranged his extensive collection of European and Middle Eastern objects by type, in distinctive, often symmetrical, wall arrangements and in custom-made vitrines. Barnes, who traveled frequently to France as he built his collection, is believed to have visited Rouen to see this impressive holding. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue containing an essay on Barnes’s collecting of metalwork, one on the collection at Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, and short essays on groups of works, and an illustrated glossary of technical terms.

The exhibition is curated by Judith F. Dolkart, the Mary Stripp & R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, and former Deputy Director of Art and Archival Collections and Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes Foundation. An expert on the art and culture of 19th-century France, Dolkart graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1989 and received an A.B. in fine arts in 1993 from Harvard-Radcliffe College, where she examined the work of Frank Stella for her thesis. In 1997, she earned an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. During her 2013 fellowship at the Center for Curatorial Leadership, Dolkart was mentored by the director of the Harvard Art Museums and had a week-long residency with the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the history of art at the University of Pennsylvania.

Anne-Charlotte Cathelineau, curator in charge of the objets d’art at the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, selected the objects included in Strength and Splendor and authored the catalogue’s essay on the holdings in Rouen, as well as several entries on individual objects.

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The catalogue is available from The Barnes Foundation:

Anne-Charlotte Cathelineau, with contributions by Richard Wattenmaker, François Boyenval, Hélène Thomas, and Bruno Varin, Strength and Splendor: Wrought Iron from the Musée le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen (Philadelphia: The Barnes Foundation, 2015), 175 pages, ISBN: 978-0984857869, $65.

Strength_and_Sp_1The Le Secq collection is the most important holding of wrought iron in the world, combining artistic virtuosity, technological innovation, and whimsy. It was created by Jean-Louis Henri Le Secq Destournelles (1818–1882) and his son Henri-Jean Le Secq des Tournelles (1854–1925). The older Le Secq focused on masterpieces—exceptional objects. The younger Le Secq inherited his father’s enthusiasm and assembled an encyclopedic array of adornments, instruments, and tools, which he catalogued like natural history specimens. He gave the collection to the city of Rouen, where it has been spectacularly displayed in the deconsecrated church of Saint-Laurent since 1921. This catalogue covers some 150 of the most magnificent objects in the Le Secq collection, classed in ten categories—including locks and keys, decorative plaques, and everyday objects—with essays on the history of the Le Secq collection and on the place of
metalwork in the Barnes Foundation.



New Book | Exhibiting the Empire

Posted in books by Editor on December 14, 2015

From Manchester UP (and now 50% off at Oxford UP’s sitewide sale) . . .

John MacKenzie and John McAleer, eds., Exhibiting the Empire: Cultures of Display and the British Empire (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-0719091094, $110.

51HSrnkFk-L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Exhibiting the Empire considers how a whole range of cultural products from paintings, prints, photographs, panoramas and ‘popular’ texts to ephemera, newspapers and the press, theatre and music, exhibitions, institutions and architecture were used to record, celebrate and question the development of the British Empire. The empire was exhibited for a variety of reasons: to promote trade and commerce; to encourage emigration and settlement; to assert, project and cement imperial authority; to digest and display the data and specimens derived from various voyages of exploration and missionary endeavours undertaken in the name of empire; to celebrate and commemorate important landmarks, people or events in the imperial pantheon. By considering a broad sweep of different media and ‘imperial moments’, this collection highlights the contingent and changing nature of imperial display, as well as its continuing impact in Britain throughout (and beyond) the country’s imperial meridian. Exhibiting the empire represents a significant and original contribution to our understanding of the relationship between culture and the British Empire.

Written by leading scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, individual chapters bring fresh perspectives to the interpretation of media, material culture and display, and their interaction with the history of the British Empire. Exhibiting the Empire will be essential reading for scholars and students interested in British history, the history of empire, art history, and the history of museums and collecting.

John M. MacKenzie is Emeritus Professor of Imperial History at Lancaster University and holds Honorary Professorships at the universities of Aberdeen, St Andrews and Stirling, as well as an Honorary Fellowship at Edinburgh University. John McAleer is Lecturer in History at the University of Southampton.

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Introduction: Cultures of Display and the British Empire, John MacKenzie and John McAleer
1  An Elite Imperial Vision: Eighteenth-Century British Country Houses and Four-Continents Imagery, Stephanie Barczewski
2  Exhibiting Exploration: Captain Cook, Voyages of Exploration and the Culture of Display, John McAleer
3  Satirical Peace Prints and the Cartographic Unconscious, Douglas Fordham
4  Sanguinary Engagements: Exhibiting the Naval Battles of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Eleanor Hughes
5  Empire under Glass: The British Empire and the Crystal Palace, 1851–1911, Jeffrey Auerbach
6  Ephemera and the British Empire, Ashley Jackson and David Tomkins
7  Exhibiting the Empire in Print: The Press, the Publishing World and the Promotion of ‘Greater Britain’, Berny Sèbe
8. Exhibiting the Empire at the Delhi Durbar of 1911: Imperial and Cultural Contexts, John MacKenzie
9. Elgar’s Pageant of Empire, 1924: An Imperial Leitmotiv, Nalini Ghuman
10. Representing ‘Our Island Sultanate’ in London and Zanzibar: Cross-currents in Educating Imperial Publics, Sarah Longair

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