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Monday, June 18, 2018

Women Design by Libby Sellers

By Boberger. Photo:Bengt Oberger [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Women Design celebrates the achievements of some of the great women designers in a patriarchal industry.  When asked about important designers, most people only name men. This is an excellent addition then to the books about women architects, industrial designers and textile designers.

The interesting articles include biographies of Althea McNish who brought a 'riot of colour' into the drab post-war world of Britain with her tropical textile designs, Lella Vignelli who took 'modernist designs with European sensibilities' to New York with her husband and Lora Lamm who epitomised the La Bella Vita era with her playful graphic designs.There is also the incredible architect Zaha Hadid.

This is a great book for anyone interested in the world of design. I was a bit confused however by the mention of the Trinidad artist Lord Kitchener. I think that Sellers should have pointed out that this was a stage name for a calypso artist!

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Know It All Fashion The 50 Key Modes, Garments, and Designers, Each Explained in Under a Minute by Rebecca Arnold Quarto Publishing Group – Wellfleet Press Wellfleet Press

21stCenturyGreenstuff at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This book probably lives up to its name. An excellent introduction to the fashion world, it contains sections on every aspect from haute couture to street style.  There are short explanations of the intersections between fashion and art, fashion and the movies and fashion and music, as well as succinct biographies of some of the great designers, such as Marc Jacobs. It also includes useful glossaries. This is certainly worth buying if you are interested in the history of fashion. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I especially liked the section about the Teddy Boys and their influence on fashion.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

The Price of Greatness Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the Creation of American Oligarchy by Jay Cost

This is a useful reference book for students of political philosophy. I didn't finish it because I found it a bit heavy and dull, unfortunately.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Icons of Style A Century of Fashion Photography by Paul Martineau

This book is an excellent study of the history of fashion photographers and trends from the early 20th century.  Martineau explains the transition from fashion drawings to photography and how the great photographers changed the world of fashion and art in each era. For example, Edward Steichen began his career photographing the lavish designs of Poiret but in the 20s he focused on his love of naturalness and simplicity and started taking outdoor shots.  He also used chic, independent women models, such as Marion Morehouse and Lee Miller.

A useful book for anyone studying fashion or photography, this contains beautiful photos from each era.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Louis XIV, the Real Sun King by Jules Harper and Aurora von Goeth Pen & Sword


This book was a little dull at first, but it soon livened up with the account of Louis's fascinating love life, with the beautiful Mancini sisters and Louise de Valliere, who seemed to be having affairs one minute and guiltily rushing to church the next.  There are chapters devoted to every aspect of the great French king's life, including his patronage of the arts, his wars,  and the building of the magnificent Versailles Palace.  It is clearly and simply written but an interesting read.

While Louis XIV was undoubtedly a despot, he could be quite enlightened. There is evidence that he refused the offer to use a biological weapon, for example. Louis thought that 'the means of destroying life were sufficiently numerous', and paid the chemist who made the discovery to keep it to himself. The great king was also the first to introduce an award for 'exceptional officers' of the military which could also be granted to non-nobles.  He also founded a large home and hospital for aged and wounded soldiers, an idea which is also a good one for our times. 

The French king still has a huge influence today, through music, comedy, dance and his splendid palace. He is an endlessly riveting object of study, and this book is an excellent addition to the collection.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Prince Who Would Be King The Life and Death of Henry Stuart by Sarah Fraser

Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Henry Stuart would probably have been an excellent King.  He was clever, literary and interested in foreign affairs and politics and even science and foreign expeditions. He also had a mind of his own and even managed to defy his father, the rather intimidating James, enlist his own adviser and establish his own court! He was also strongly Protestant, which may have suited the English at the time. Henry's early death lead to his brother becoming King. Charles 1 was heavily criticised for his Catholic leanings and for having a Catholic wife, the Portugese Henrietta Maria.

This was an interesting book but I found Sarah Fraser's style a bit abrupt at times. I hope to read her other book, however.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Fraver by Design Five Decades of Theatre Poster Art from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Beyond by Frank “Fraver” Verlizzo Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

'How does one come up with these things? A gargoyle with a gun...a philosophical frog with a book and a martini...' Actor and singer Jared Bradshaw asks these questions about Frank Verlizzo, the famous poster designer.  'Fraver' certainly must have an extraordinary imagination to produce such flamboyant and dramatic posters! This book includes background stories by Verlizzo and commentaries by Hollywood stars, such as Bernadette Peters.

This is an excellent book for art-lovers and for those learning the craft.

I received this free ebook from Net galley in return for an honest review.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Secret Houses of the Cotswolds by Jeremy Musson

This is a gorgeous book which includes the history and pictures of such beautiful houses as Burford Priory, whose owner once defied Charles 1, and Clevenage - Trenwith in the Poldark series. These historical houses have stunning features, such as decoration in the Arts and Crafts style, antique stained-glass, and Regency four-poster beds.  There are interviews with the owners who tell how why they bought the houses (unless they were inherited) and how they restored them.

I found the writing a bit staid and it was hard to read online because the print is quite small.


This is a must-buy for anyone who loves beautiful historical houses and architecture.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

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