New Book | The Hand that Rocked the Cradle

Posted in books by Editor on May 5, 2019

Distributed in the US and Canada by The University of Chicago Press:

Sue Laurence, The Hand that Rocked the Cradle: The Art of Birth and Infancy (London: Unicorn Publishing, 2019), 192 pages, ISBN: 978-1911604556, $30.

Throughout the history of art, artists have been drawn to images of birth and infancy. After all, who doesn’t want to look at a baby? This book uses that bounty of imagery to offer a fresh perspective on the history of birth and the early years of life through a rich array of images and objects, including paintings, prints, sculptures, metalwork, jewelry, textiles, ceramics, furniture, and woodwork—as well as images from medical and social history collections.

Exploring a long chronological scope, from around 1300 to the turn of the twentieth century, Sue Laurence provides insight into the enduring nature of many traditions and experiences related to childhood and infancy—many of which we tend to assume are of recent vintage, but turn out, when examined closely, to have roots in the medieval era. Packed with beautiful images, and offering surprising new interpretations and contextualization, The Hand That Rocked the Cradle is a treasure trove for any lover of art—or doting parent.

Sue Laurence has served as Head of the V&A Museum of Childhood, where she created many innovative exhibitions as well as securing significant acquisitions. She has also been head of interpretation at the National Archives and a curator at the Florence Nightingale Museum.

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