Latest book reviews

Book Review: James Cook: The Voyages - the British Library exhibition catalogue

This fascinating exhibition catalogue accompanying the British LIbrary 2018 show tells the story of James Cook's three major voyages across the globe through the Library's rich Captain Cook collection.   The book is organised chronologically and features thoughtful and well-written essays that are peppered with paintings and drawings from these voyages as well as excerpts from eyewitness together. It vividly brings to life the extraordinary challenges of Cook's voyages.   Spread from James Cook: The Voyages showing Alexander Buchan's 1769 painting of expedition life on the left-hand page and 'A Man of the Island of Tierra del Fuego' and 'A Woman of the...

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Book Review: Picasso 1932

Watch the wonderful book vlogger Victoria Sadler bring to life the 'truly great' Picasso 1932 catalogue in her informative review video. If you are not already following Victoria, do take a look at her blog which is a treasure trove of incisive reviews of art exhibitions, plays and books and is required reading for any culture vulture.   Buy a copy of the book

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Book Review: Night Vision: Nocturnes in American Art 1860-1960

'The nightHath been to me a more familiar faceThan that of man; and in her starry shadeOf dim and solitary lovelinessI learned the language of another world.' (Byron) For centuries, artists, writers and musicians have found the night a compelling subject - a time of terror, reflection and transformation. It is a time when our imaginations become less constrained by the 'sharp edges of the visible' (p157). Night Vision: Noctures in American Art 1860 -1960, the exhibition catalogue for a show held at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in 2015, explores the varied and changing artistic expressions of the experience of seeing...

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Book Review : The British Museum Haiku Animals

I am always impressed by the imaginative ways that museums showcase their collections through their publication. Take the British Museum. They have some 30,000 objects in their collections that relate to Japan ranging from samurai swords, kimonos to woodblock prints. Alongside exhibition catalogues, the British Museum has produced a series of books that pair haikus with Japanese prints and paintings from their collections. The British Museum Haiku Animals edited by Mavis Pilbeam is one of this series of books and is a gem. The book pairs the poetic meditations of Japanese masters including Bashō, Buson and Issa with exquisite woodblock prints and paintings...

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Book Review: Ocean Liners - the exhibition catalogue for the V&A's show

Think ocean liners and you will most likely conjure up images of a glamorous world peopled by society beauties and actors playing deck quoits by day and elegantly sipping cocktails in art deco wood-panelled bars by night.  Ocean Liner: Speed and Style  Ocean Liners is the companion book to an exhibition at the V&A and the Peabody Essex Museum and as its name suggests is a glorious celebration of the ocean liner. Brimful of crisp reproductions, the book immerses its readers in a life of glamour and carefree fun. Dip into the book and you will find  Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich resplendent in...

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