Peacock & Vine: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny

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Here is a combination of a lengthy essay and two biographies by A.S. Byatt. If you enjoy detailed biographies of artists, Peacock & Vine will be a good reading for you. Byatt has chosen two artists, one from England and one from Italy, both of whom lived in the nineteenth century but a generation apart. Byatt draws an interesting but valid parallel between the two artists: Mariano Fortuny in Venice (although of Spanish origin) and William Morris in England. The descriptions are very detailed (one might say painstakingly so), filled with quotes, even poems. Both artists were painters and fabric designers (Morris was also a garden designer and Fortuny also a lamp and lighting designer and a photographer). Both produced magnificent textiles–Morris for human spaces while Fortuny to cover the human body. The text is richly illustrated with paintings and photographs, but the book design would’ve improved considerably if the illustrations carried captions. The descriptions are given at the end of the book, a major inconvenience for the reader; besides, the captions are so brief as to be inadequate. Yet this small hardback has been beautifully produced. The book ends with a list of further reading material.

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Author A. S. Byatt
Star Count 3.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 181 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2016-08-02
ISBN 9781101947470
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2016
Category Art, Architecture & Photography
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