SUGGESTED READING LIST FOR BOOKS ABOUT
ENGLISH DECORATIVE ARTS
Books listed below are standards in their fields, written by well known experts, and will provide a strong understanding of the subject matter.FURNITURE
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Aslin, Elizabeth. Nineteenth Century English Furniture. New York; Thomas Yoseloff: 1962. This well-illustrated and scholarly book describes the profusion of original Victorian, arts and crafts, and revival styles prevalent in England throughout the 19th century. A short guide of cabinetmaking firms and a bibliography are included.
Beard, Geoffrey. Craftsmen and Interior Decoration in England, 1660-1820. Edinburgh: J. Bartholomew, 1981. This book lists more the 700 craftsmen and described their commissions for over 6000 examples of interior furnishings.
Beard, Geoffrey and Christopher Gilbert. Dictionary of English Furniture Makers. London: Maney Publishing with the Furniture History Society, 1986. “Compiled over a period of seven years by nearly four hundred researchers, this is the definitive reference work on furniture makers active in England between 1660 and 1840. The Dictionary lists makers in alphabetical order, recording biographical details, commissions, and information about signed or documented pieces together with full supporting references. Illustrating the various ways in which makers identified their furniture, historians, collectors and those with a commercial interest in antique furniture will find this book an indispensable source for identifying makers known hitherto only by faint inscriptions, faded labels, or scattered references in country house archives.” (Maney Publishing)
Beard, Geoffrey. Upholsterers & Interior Furnishings in England, 1570-1840. New Haven and London: Yale University Press for the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, 1997. In this publication, Beard uses the dates of reigning monarchs to chronologically assess the import and impact of upholstered furniture and fabrics on English high society. Beard places his subject into a broader context of English history through excellent primary source research and detailed photographs. Includes glossary, bibliography, and useful appendices. Hardcover.
Cescinsky, Herbert. English Furniture from Gothic to Sheraton. New York; Dover Publications: 1968. This publication follows the development of English woodwork and furniture design from 15th-century Gothic to the Classic Revival of the 19th century. There are numerous excellent black and white illustrations. This is a reprint of the 1929 original.
Cescinsky, Herbert. The Gentle Art of Faking Furniture. London; Chapman and Hall: 1931. "Literate and entertaining, and even though the remarks are directed at the collector of English furniture, students of American objects can profit by many of the general observations" (Ames & Ward). Includes over 275 black-and-white images.
Chinnery, Victor. Oak Furniture—The English Tradition. London: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1979. This volume covers the range of high style and common furniture constructed of oak and like woods from the Middle Ages through 1800. The materials and techniques used in the construction of furniture by the various trades are discussed. Over 2000 illustrations are included.
Coleridge, Anthony. Chippendale Furniture -The Works of Thomas Chippendale and his Contemporaries in the Rococo Taste. London: Faber and Faber, 1968. This detailed look at the Chippendale period uses a The best single book on the Chippendale style in England.
Edwards, Ralph. The Shorter Dictionary of English Furniture: From the Middle Ages to the Late Georgian Period. London: Country Life, Ltd, 1964. This volume covers late 15th century up to 1820. Essays with numerous black-and-white illustrations describe the forms and styles of furniture available to the public during the period covered. Indices on craftsmen, associated artists and cabinet-makers can be found at end of the volume.
Bickerton, L.M. 18th Century English Drinking Glasses, 2nd Ed.: An Illustrated Guide. Easthampton, MA: Antique Collectors’ Club, 2000. The 2nd edition of this popular guide uses digitally enhanced photographs to illustrate the astounding variety of bowl and stem designs used in the construction of English drinking glasses. Bickerton provides a useful method for identifying glasses. Includes an extensive bibliography and over 1200 illustrations.
Charleston, R. J. English Glass and the Glass Used in England, circa 400-1940. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1984. This book, written by a leading authority in English and European glass, was the first in an influential and important decorative arts series on English decorative arts. Includes black-and-white plates and line drawings.
Buckley, Francis. History of Old English Glass. London: Ernest Benn, 1925. The forward of this early volume on English glass was written by Bernhard Rackham, keeper of the department of ceramics at the Victoria and Albert where Mr. Buckley’s glass collection was housed. Topics are varied and include information on English glasshouses, British Flint glass,18th-century wineglasses and their manufacture and design, and the origin and development of English cut and engraved glass.
Hughes, G. Bernard. English, Scottish and Irish Table Glass. New York: Bramhall House, 1956. This book is considered by many collectors to be an excellent general resource on this subject. The volume includes a helpful glossary of technical and common terms and more than 300 photographs. Topics include a brief history of the English glassmaking industry and descriptions of glass forms, construction, and decorative techniques.
Westropp, M.S. Dudley. Irish Glass 1920. Revised edition. Dublin: Allen Figgis, 1978. This book provides an account of the Irish glass-making industry from the 16th century through the early 20th century. The book includes approximately 40 black-and-white plates of representative examples, and information on many of the important early glass houses.
Burks, Jean. Birmingham Brass Candlesticks. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1986.
Caspall, John. Making Fire and Light in The Home, 1640-1820. Woodbridge, England, Antique Collectors’ Club, 1987. “The author has traced the developments in this field with meticulous care beginning with the advent of fire, tinder boxes, flints and steels and related fire making appliances, through to the early nineteenth century when inventions such as the chemical match relegated such everyday items to history”.
Gentle, Rupert, and Field, Rachel. Domestic Metalwork, 1640-1840.
Woodbridge, England, Antique Collectors’ Club, 1994. A large book, weighing over 4 pounds, includes lighting fixtures,, fireplace and hearth, hardware, and more.
Lindsay, J. Seymour. Iron and Brass Implements of the English and American Home. Boston: Medici Society, 1927. The book is divided into six chapters: The Hearth and objects connected with the fireplace: Cooking and other kitchen utensils; Lighting Metalwork dealing with smoking; Items not included in any of the previous classes; and American-Colonial metalwork.
Schiffer, Peter, Nancy and Herbert Schiffer. The Brass Book: American, English and European; Fifteenth Century Through 1850. Exton, Pa: Schiffer Publishing Co.1978. Sections on andirons, candlesticks, fireplace accessories, kettles, tobacco boxes, scientific instruments, and table wares. Discusses the development of styles, and the methods used in producing the items.
Davis, John. English Silver at Williamsburg. Williamsburg, Va, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation: 1976. The Williamsburg collection of English silver includes both exceedingly rare and every day examples. Examples illustrated and described are primarily from the 17th and 18th centuries and marks are photographed, making the book particularly useful. Descriptions are excellent and a comprehensive bibliography is included.
Jackson, Charles James. An Illustrated History of English Plate, Ecclesiastical and Secular. New York, Dover Publications: 1969, 2 volumes. Originally published in 1911, this set discusses the historical background and the development of styles for ceremonial, domestic, and decorative objects. Includes Irish silver and covers silver made in England from the earliest days up to the 20th century. Heavily illustrated.
Jackson, Charles James. English Goldsmiths and Their Marks: A History of the Goldsmiths and Plate Workers of England, Scotland and Ireland with over thirteen thousand marks. Reproduced in facsimile from authentic examples of plate and tables of date-letters and other… New York, Dover Publications: 1964. It’s a large, massive book and is the required book for English silver marks.
Clayton, Michael. The Collector's Dictionary of the Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America. New York and Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1971. A comprehensive survey of the work of gold & silversmiths in UK and USA from the Middle Ages to the late 19th century.
FINE ART: PAINTINGS, ETC.
Bidman, David, ed. The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of British Art. United Kingdom: Thames and Hudson, 1998. This is the only book on British art to cover every period from the Anglo-Saxons to the present day, and every significant medium. Information on hundreds of artists and on their schools, concepts, techniques, institutions, patronage and criticism are included.
Wilton, Andrew. Five Centuries of British Painting: From Holbein to Hodgkin. London: Thames and Hudson, 2002. Wilton, Keeper and Senior Research Fellow at Tate Britain, traces the story of British painting the early days of Holbein through Hogarth and Reynolds, when it reflected a prosperous international and influential society.
Atterbury, Paul, ed. English Pottery and Porcelain: An Historical Survey. New York: Universe Books, 1978. This compilation of scholarly articles from 50 years of Antiques Magazine provides an excellent overview of the history of the English pottery from the 17th century to the late 19th century.
Garner, F. H., and Michael Archer. English Delftware. 2nd ed. The Faber Monographs on Pottery and Porcelain, edited by Henry Garner and R. J. Charleston. London: Faber and Faber, 1972. “The standard source for English delftware, this expanded edition traces the evolution of the delftware industry from the sixteenth into the eighteenth centuries, with a useful summary of stylistic attributes of each century’s productions. Specific manufactories within the major delftware centers are discussed.” (Ward and Ames)
Godden, Geoffrey A. Encyclopaedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks. New York: Crown Publishers, 1964. This volume includes more than 4,500 illustrations of marks used on British pottery and porcelain, with information about dates of manufacture, and companies. An essential source for the collectors of English ceramics.
Godden, Geoffrey A. English China. London: Barrie and Jenkins, 1985. The focus of this volume is English porcelain. Eleven types of porcelain are analyzed, identified, and well illustrated. A glossary includes additional information on other types of English ceramics.
Haslam, Malcolm. English Art Pottery, 1865-1915. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1975. This book provides an illustrated overview of the revival of handmade and individually decorated ceramics that occurred during the English arts and crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Hughes, G. Bernard. English and Scottish Earthenware, 1660-1860. London: Lutterworth Press, 1961. In this book, Hughes provides an excellent overview of the history, production, and trade of English and Scottish earthenware.
Larsen, Ellouise Baker. American Historical Views on Staffordshire China. New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1939. In this volume, Larsen identifies and documents the print sources used to make transfer printed earthenware. An illustrated description of the process involved in producing this Staffordshire china is also included.
Mountford, Arnold R. The Illustrated Guide to Staffordshire Salt-Glazed Stoneware. The Illustrated Guides to Pottery and Porcelain, edited by Geoffrey A. Godden. London: Barrie and Jenkins; New York: Praeger Publisher, 1971. This essential resource for collectors of white salt-glazed stoneware includes information on the technology, marketing, and designs used to produce and sell this product. The guide includes a chronology for dating pieces.
Steel, John and Michael Wright. The English House. London: Antique Collectors' Club, 2006. In this volume, the authors review the stylistic changes in domestic English architecture that occurred from Norman times to the modern day. The context of house and room usage by various owners over time is a focus of the publication. Over 500 illustrations are available.
Jenkins, David, ed. Cambridge History of Western Textiles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. This extensively illustrated 2-volume set describes the impact textiles have had on 3,000 years of Western society using the knowledge of archaeologists, historians, and museum curators. The history of all the major textile industries, including wool, linen, silk, cotton and artificial fibers is explored. Processes and technical terms are explained carefully, while the role and impact of textiles in western economies and societies are examined.
Montgomery, Florence. Printed Textiles: English and American Cottons and Linens 1700-1850. New York: Viking Press as A Winterthur Book, 1970. Montgomery’s groundbreaking study on English and American textiles examines the importation and use of English textiles in America. She identifies decorative patterns and manufacturing techniques, and uses primary sources to identify how these textiles were used in the home.
Schoeser, Mary and Celia Rufey. English and American Textiles from 1790 to the Present. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1989. Schoeser and Rufey look at both high style and common textiles used in interior decoration. Fabrics are well illustrated and often shown as they would have been used in the context of the home.
Synge, Lanto. Art of Embroidery: History of Style and Technique. Woodbridge, UK: Antique Collectors’ Club, 2001. This book features a wide ranging history of textiles from many countries and sources, including vestments and costume, samplers and pictures, great beds and furniture. The story of embroidery and needlework is discussed within the context of the history of fabrics, decorative costume, interior decoration, church and state ceremonial, girls’ education, and furniture and pastimes. Silk, cotton, linen, and the significance of colours and dyes are also considered.