Friday, July 18, 2008

Current Reads Part 1

The Mystery of Love: Saints in art through the centuries, by Sister Wendy Beckett

Sister Wendy does it again. This is another great book by popular and prolific author Sister Wendy Beckett. This time she looks at pictures with a predominately Christian theme, particularly the saints as she examines their love and devotion to Christ. Sister Wendy is a Carmelite nun, and her faith shows through in this book; but whether you're Catholic or not I can recommend this book for anyone with an interest in art. The art reproductions are good, and and the comments made by Sister Wendy are thoughtful and insightful.

A History of Fashion in the 20th Century, by Gertrud Lehnert

Don't let the so-so cover put you off - it looks a lot better on the inside! As they say, never judge a book by it's cover. It's published by Konemann, a German brand that makes very good quality books. (This book was originally published in German.) It provides a good overview of fashion in the 20th century and is informative and interesting (if you like clothes!).

 Henry VIII: A European Court in England, edited by David Starkey

This is an excellent book about Henry VIII's reign; it's a manageable size and has plenty of pictures to keep the reader engaged. Even if you don't take the time to read all of the text (I haven't. . . *blushes* I'll have to renew my loan from the library so I can finish reading it) you'll still glean a lot just by studying the illustrations, which include photographs of many different artefacts connected with Henry VIII - jewellery, manuscripts, paintings, and polyhedral sundials, whatever those are.

Dress in Detail From Around the World, by Rosemary Crill, Jennifer Wearden, and Verity Wilson.

This is a magnificent book, packed with pictures of costumes from around the world, some of which are hundreds of years old. My only quibble is you don't get to see photographs of each garment as a whole - you only see details, similar to what's on the cover. Only a little bit of the cuff or hem or the buttons or tassels, which makes it difficult to visualise the whole garment. Never mind. It really is a beautiful book to look at. Some of the traditional lace and embroidery shown is just gorgeous.

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