New and forthcoming
The daily lives of ordinary people are replete with objects, common things used in commonplace settings. These objects are our constant companions in life. As such, writes Soetsu Yanagi, they should be made with care and built to last, treated with respect and even affection. They should be natural and simple, sturdy and safe - the aesthetic result of wholeheartedly fulfilling utilitarian needs. They should, in short, be things of beauty.
In an age of feeble and ugly machine-made things, these essays call for us to deepen and transform our relationship with the objects that surround us. Inspired by the work of the simple, humble craftsmen Yanagi encountered during his lifelong travels through Japan and Korea, they are an earnest defence of modest, honest, handcrafted things - from traditional teacups to jars to cloth and paper. Objects like these exemplify the enduring appeal of simplicity and function: the beauty of everyday things.
A panoramic exploration of peoples, objects and beliefs over 40,000 years from the celebrated author of A History of the World in 100 Objects and Germany, following the new BBC Radio 4 documentary and British Museum exhibition. Available for pre-order now.
One of the central facts of human existence is that every society shares a set of beliefs and assumptions - a faith, an ideology, a religion - that goes far beyond the life of the individual. These beliefs are an essential part of a shared identity. They have a unique power to define - and to divide - us, and are a driving force in the politics of much of the world today. Throughout history they have most often been, in the widest sense, religious.
Yet this book is not a history of religion, nor an argument in favour of faith. It is about the stories which give shape to our lives, and the different ways in which societies imagine their place in the world. Looking across history and around the globe, it interrogates objects, places and human activities to try to understand what shared beliefs can mean in the public life of a community or a nation, how they shape the relationship between the individual and the state, and how they help give us our sense of who we are.
For in deciding how we live with our gods, we also decide how to live with each other.
'The new blockbuster by the museums maestro Neil MacGregor ... The man who chronicles world history through objects is back ... examining a new set of objects to explore the theme of faith in society' Sunday Times
***As heard on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week***
Witness the birth of Surrealism in Sue Roe's lively account of the artists who lived, loved and worked together
In this entertaining and informative biography, Sue Roe illustrates how surrealism emerged in Paris amidst an artistic ambience of lively experimentation. Before surrealism made its startling impact, artists including Marcel Duchamp and Giorgio De Chirico had already begun to shift the focus of the art scene in Montparnasse. Beginning with Duchamp, Roe tells the story of the wonderfully eccentric and avant-garde Dada movement, the birth of Surrealist photography with Man Ray and his muse Kiki de Montparnasse, the love triangle between writer Paul Éluard, his wife Gala and the artist Max Ernst, until the arrival of Salvador Dalí in 1929. In Montparnasse recounts the extraordinary, revolutionary work these artists undertook as much as the salons, café life, friendships, rows and love affairs that were their background.
'Brings together some of the chief protagonists in one of the 20th century's most inventive art movements. A vivid read' Radio Times
'Highly colourful . . . they're all here, the big names of the time - behaving badly, and, at times, quite madly too' Observer
'Roe is a talented writer' Sunday Times
'Art? What has art ever done for us as a family?'
In the First World War, artist-soldier Joseph Gray drew and painted scenes of battle, his illustrations appearing in the popular press and his canvases sold to museums. But after struggling through the next decade and facing the threat of another war, Joseph had found a secret new calling: the art of camouflage.
As he went from representing reality to disguising it, Joseph’s growing interest in camouflage concealed another, deeper subterfuge. He was leading a double life, and would eventually leave his family for the woman that he loved.
Joseph Gray’s Camouflage is a multi-layered story of art, war, love and deception. Beyond attempting to pin down the image of a man who eludes us at every turn, it also traces the development of camouflage between the two wars and shines a light on the unlikely band of artists who made it happen.
Though private letters, diaries, archives and interviews Joseph's great-granddaughter Mary Horlock pieces together the truth that was once lost, and brings his far-from-ordinary life back into focus.
'Here is my soul. Look for me here; here I am, here are my pictures, my roots'
Marc Chagall, one of the twentieth century's most popular artists, grew up in a close-knit, bustling Russian-Jewish community, the son of a herring seller. In his colourful, dreamlike autobiography, written as he was about to leave his homeland for good in 1922, he vividly brings to life the memories and places that fed into his unique work, from his shtetl childhood to revolutionary Russia and Belle Èpoque Paris. Filled with Chagall's own evocative illustrations, My Life is as warm, joyful and humane as his art.
'Chagall writes as whimsically as he paints: lovingly ofother people, humorously and lovingly of himself' Daily Mail
'Anyone who likes Chagall's paintings will enjoy this book:the work of an unteachable, unspoiled folk artist' Evening Standard
'What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.' - W.H. Davies
Walking around London is one of life's great pleasures. There is a huge amount that you can only see on foot – but sometimes it is hard to know where to look. Luckily, Christopher Winn, bestselling author of I Never Knew That About London, knows where all the hidden treasures are.
This book takes the reader on a series of stimulating original walks through different areas of central London, focusing on one particular period of history, the Victorian, so ubiquitous that we take it for granted, and yet so astonishing and so far reaching in its variety, imagination, ambition and detail.
..the remarkable 300-foot bell tower at the Houses of Parliament you never knew was there....
..the extraordinary fairytale house in Kensington where the Mikado was inspired...
..the best Victorian loos in the world near Old Street...
..a hidden chapel in Bloomsbury described by Oscar Wilde as 'the most delightful private chapel in London'...
..London's best preserved high class Victorian shop near Tottenham Court Road…
...an almost complete Victorian townscape boasting the world's oldest surviving mansion block...
Walk through history and discover the hidden gems of Victorian London!
"Hall’s consummate history is not just the story of the evolution of one of the world’s great collections… The book is also a through-the-keyhole insight into the shifting tastes, good or bad, of 1,000 years of monarchs."
- The Times
The Royal Collection is the last great collection formed by the European monarchies to have survived into the twenty-first century. Containing over a million artworks and objects, it covers all aspects of the fine and decorative arts, from paintings by Rembrandt and Michelangelo to grand sculpture, Fabergé eggs and some of the most exquisite furniture ever made. The Royal Collection also offers a revealing insight into the history of the British monarchy from William the Conqueror to Queen Elizabeth II, recording the tastes and obsessions of kings and queens over the past 500 years.
With unprecedented access to the royal residences of St James' Palace, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, Art, Passion & Power traces the history of this national institution from the Middle Ages to the present day, exploring how royalty used the arts to strengthen their position as rulers by divine right and celebrating treasures from the Crown Jewels to the "Abraham" tapestries in Hampton Court Palace. Author Michael Hall examines the monarchy's response to changing attitudes to the arts and sciences during the Enlightenment and celebrates the British monarchy's role in the democratisation of art in the modern world. Packed with glimpses of rarely seen artworks, Art, Passion & Power is a visual treat for all art enthusiasts.
Accompanying the BBC television series and a major exhibition at the Royal Academy, Art, Passion & Power is the definitive statement on the British monarchy's treasures of the art world.