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Our history of art books provide an overview of artists and their work through the ages - from hieroglyphs to modern art.

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Art History

  • Art

    Simon Schama, CBE

    Product Code: CAVFZ
    Paperback
    `Great art has dreadful manners... ...The hushed reverence of the gallery can fool you into believing masterpieces are visions that soothe, charm and beguile, but actually they are thugs. Merciless and wily, the greatest paintings grab you in a headlock and proceed in short order to re-arrange your sense of reality.' In inimitable style, our greatest historian and master storyteller Simon Schama makes an irresistible case for the power of art and its necessary place in our lives, examining art through the prism of the troubling life and works of Italian master painter, and murderer, Caravaggio. Selected from The Power of Art VINTAGE MINIS: GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS. A series of short books by the world's greatest writers on the experiences that make us human Also in the Vintage Minis 'Great Ideas' series: Religion by Karen Armstrong Science by Ian McEwan
    • £3.19
    • RRP £3.50
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  • Dot Art: Sticker Van Gogh

    Yoni Alter

    Product Code: CCDOF
    Paperback
    Van Gogh's A Wheatfield, with Cypresses and Georges Seurat's Bathers at Asnieres are two of the most famous and popular paintings in London's National Gallery. These activity books allow adults and children to understand how the two artists used colors to create vibrant and luminous scenes. Opening with a brief informative essay, each book contains thousands of colored round stickers and a poster "canvas" of colored outlines - readers simply need to match the stickers to the outlines found on the poster to recreate the paintings. It's not necessary to place each sticker on precisely the right outline. As a result, every finished poster will be its own original work of art. With a handy folder-style flap that allows for easy storage and transportation of the artwork in progress, this activity book is perfect for hours of entertainment, relaxation, or meditation, as well as for unwinding at the end of a busy day.
    • £9.89
    • RRP £10.99
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  • The Manga Artist's Handbook: Drawing Basic Characters

    Junka Morozumi

    Product Code: BZGNJ
    Paperback
    This book provides a revolutionary new 3-step tracing technique that beginning artists can use to quickly learn to draw manga characters just like a pro! Every page presents a classic manga pose, from walking and running to jumping for joy, in three different steps: 1. A simple outline of the body2. The defining elements of the character (like clothes, hair and facial expression) highlighted for easy tracing so you can practice placing them onto the basic body outline3. The finished drawing (for inspiration). Popular manga artists Junka Morozumi and Tomomi Mizuna guide you through a series of carefully graded lessons to build up your skills gradually. Chapter 1 deals with the basic poses of standing, walking, and running.; Chapter 2 presents signature manga poses such as turning around in surprise and being angry with hands on hips.; Chapter 3 practices various sitting and sleeping poses.; Chapter 4 deals with drawing perspective, looking at characters from above, below and diagonal viewpoints.; Chapter 5 focuses on 2-person manga poses including the classic prince with a princess in his arms.; Chapter 6 lets readers try out the skills they have acquired by tracing and copying a full-page manga illustration containing multiple characters.. These six lessons are supplemented by exercises for capturing the right facial expressions, drawing the clothes and getting the perspective and body proportions right. Beginning manga artists are in good hands with Morozumi, who lectures at art academies in Tokyo, and Mizuna, whose work has been exhibited in the U.S., Europe and beyond. If you've been looking for an easy-to-use guide to drawing manga, The Manga Artist's Handbook: Drawing Basic Characters is the perfect place to start!
    • £10.79
    • RRP £11.99
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  • A Touch of Asia Coloring Book

    Tuttle Publishing

    Product Code: BWMIH
    Paperback
    This adult colouring book featuring stunning Asian designs and high-quality paper and is the perfect stress-reliever for fans of Asian art motifs. Artistry is in the details, and A Touch of Asia Coloring Book presents over 50 colouring patterns drawn from the exquisite traditional porcelains, prints, manuscripts, textiles, mosaics and many other artworks of Asia. Each design gives you a taste of the rich culture, history and variety found in this part of the world. Apply your pencils and fine markers to drawings based on: Chinese porcelain designs; Islamic tiles; Persian rugs and other Asian textiles; Japanese prints... and more! This is a colouring book for both relaxation and exploration. Choose a simpler design for a more restful mood or a detailed pattern when you want more of a challenge. Each single-sided page can be torn out for sharing with family and friends or for framing your finished masterpiece.
    • £3.89
    • RRP £3.99
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  • The Queen's Castle at Windsor

    Elizabeth Newbery

    Product Code: BUQAE
    Paperback
    The official children's guide to Windsor Castle, containing fun activities to break up the commentary or enhance a visit -Combines historical accuracy with humor and a lightness of touch appropriate for the 7-11 age range -Illustrations by the award-winning Elizabeth Newbery Windsor is the oldest inhabited castle in the world - for over 900 years it's been home to kings and queens, including the current British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. This colorful activity book reveals the secrets of the world's oldest inhabited castle and the Kings and Queens who have lived there. Over time it has been a royal fortress, a King Arthur-inspired palace, a Victorian Christmas wonderland and home to The Queen (and her corgis)! There's also a mini palace inside - Queen Mary's Dolls' House has hot and cold running water, two working lifts and even flushing lavatories! Jousting and feasting, deaths and dungeons, childhood games and celebrity events - lively illustrations and fun facts bring the Castle's colorful history to life.
    • £6.89
    • RRP £6.95
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  • Quentin Blake: Pen Ink & Places

    Quentin Blake

    Product Code: BQYEC
    Hardback
    FOLLOWING FROM THE ENORMOUS SUCCESS OF WORDS AND PICTURES AND BEYOND THE PAGE , THIS THIRD VOLUME CONTINUES A NARRATIVE OF VISUAL ADVENTURES OF UNUSUAL DIVERSITY. Pens Ink & Places contains a wealth of new material, ranging from touching series of vignettes for Great Ormond Street Hospital to gigantic drawings for the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings; from the sombre apocalyptic landscapes of Riddley Walker to the energetic fantasy of Billy and the Minpins. This beautiful volume also includes Blake's unique illustrations made to accompany accompany the works of John Ruskin, La Fontaine, Lucius Apuleius and Beatrix Potter. Blake's commentary - straight, as it were, from the drawing board - explores the challenges and opportunities in the creation of drawings known around the world, as well as others seen here for the first time. It is clear from every page of this informative and richly illustrated volume that there has been no slackening of brio in the scratchy pen nib of an artist who has been called the `Godfather of Illustration'.
    • £17.99
    • RRP £19.99
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  • Gustav Klimt: Poppy Field (Foiled Journal)

    Flame Tree Studio

    Product Code: CCZAY
    Other
    Part of a series of exciting and luxurious Flame Tree Notebooks. Combining high-quality production with magnificent fine art, the covers are printed on foil in five colours, embossed, then foil stamped. And they're powerfully practical: a pocket at the back for receipts and scraps, two bookmarks and a solid magnetic side flap. These are perfect for personal use and make a dazzling gift. This example features Gustav Klimt's Poppy Field. With a high horizon, the foreground dominates this oil painting, creating a sense of a vast expanse of poppies. Although this subject was explored by Claude Monet (1840-1926) and Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), stylistically it is extremely different from Impressionism. The tightly packed poppies provide detail, while the elevated view displays the whole landscape.
    • £8.99
    • RRP £9.99
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  • Medieval Illumination

    Kathleen Doyle

    Product Code: CCANQ
    Paperback
    Illuminated manuscripts from England and France are among the greatest masterpieces of medieval European art. This beautiful book showcases dozens of the finest examples, some of which have never before been exhibited and are rarely reproduced. It reveals the close artistic and intellectual connections between Anglo-Saxon and Norman England and medieval France, where scribes and illuminators often shared stylistic ideas and subjects. We include a wide range of important texts and illuminations from the collections of the British Library and the Bibliotheque nationale de France, including ornamented initials, delicate line drawings and fully painted scenes on gold grounds, illustrated with more than 75 full-page colour images.
    • £11.99
    • RRP £14.99
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  • The Scented Candle Workshop

    Niko Dafkos

    Product Code: BZPGO
    Hardback
    In this beautiful book, Paul and Niko of Earl of East London share the secrets behind the gorgeously scented candles they create at their studio. As well as the basic steps to preparing and pouring candles at home, the book includes a fascinating exploration of the art of building scent, so that the reader can create their own signature fragrances. Paul and Niko are devoted to capturing memories and feelings in scent, and in this book you can learn how to combine different essential oils to trigger different emotions and memories, whether that is the recollection of a childhood holiday conjured up by a hint of mandarin and seaweed, or an imagined walk in your grandparents' garden scented with basil and parsley. Not only is candle making and scent development a wonderfully relaxing craft, it is also a unique way to create personalised gifts or to create a signature scent for your own home or special event.
    • £17.99
    • RRP £20.00
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  • Art Deco Traveller: A Guide to Europe

    Genista Davidson

    Product Code: BULYN
    Paperback
    Be transported back to the heyday of modern style when architecture, design and style were de rigueur. This is an invaluable location guide for any art deco traveller in Europe and for all lovers of 1920s and 30s nostalgia and all that that entails: the opulence and decadence of the legendary Jazz Age era. Whether you are visiting Europe for business or pleasure or just wish to have a further insight into the art deco legacy left for us all to enjoy, this country-by-country guide highlights buildings and facades to see, local accommodation, theatres, monuments and associated places of interest. The guide has been compiled from the author's personal visits and her extensive research, resulting in a unique extravaganza of art deco words and pictures that any layman or aficionado will find a great companion to this iconic era.
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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  • Out of This Century: Confessions of an Art Addict

    Peggy Guggenheim

    Product Code: BPWQZ
    Paperback
    This is the fascinating autobiography of a society heiress who became the bohemian doyenne of the art world. Written in her own words it is the frank and outspoken story of her life and loves: her stormy relationships with such men as Max Ernst and Jackson Pollock, and her discovery of new artists. Known as "the mistress of modern art", Peggy Guggenheim was a passionate collector and major patron. She amassed one of the most important collections of early twentieth century European and American art embracing cubism, surrealism and expressionism. A must read for anyone with an interest in these major-league artists, this seminal period of art history, and the ultimate self-invented woman.
    • £11.99
    • RRP £14.99
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  • Frida Kahlo

    Claire Wilcox

    Product Code: BPWOH
    Hardback
    Mexican artist Frida Kahlo's possessions were locked away in her lifelong home of the Casa Azul following her death in 1954. Half a century later and her collection of clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and other personal items was rediscovered.

    This book offers a fresh perspective on Frida's life and style, celebrating her way of dressing and incredible artwork.
    • £31.49
    • RRP £35.00
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  • Making Medieval Manuscripts

    Christopher de Hamel

    Product Code: BKPUF
    Paperback
    Many beautiful illuminated manuscripts survive from the Middle Ages and can be seen in libraries and museums throughout Europe. But who were the skilled craftsmen who made these exquisite books? What precisely is parchment? How were medieval manuscripts designed and executed? What were the inks and pigments, and how were they applied? This book looks at the work of scribes, illuminators and book binders. Based principally on examples in the Bodleian Library, this lavishly illustrated account tells the story of manuscript production from the early Middle Ages through to the high Renaissance. Each stage of production is described in detail, from the preparation of the parchment, pens, paints and inks to the writing of the scripts and the final decoration and illumination of the manuscript. This book also explains the role of the stationer or bookshop, often to be found near cathedral and market squares, in the commissioning of manuscripts, and it cites examples of specific scribes and illuminators who can be identified through their work as professional lay artisans. Christopher de Hamel's engaging text is accompanied by a glossary of key technical terms relating to manuscripts and illumination, providing an invaluable introduction for anyone interested in studying medieval manuscripts today.
    • £12.39
    • RRP £14.99
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  • The Art Book

    DK

    Product Code: BUAGX
    Hardback
    Embark on a grand tour of art history with this guide to the story of art, and the big ideas and themes behind the world's most important artistic movements, artworks, and artists. The Art Book explores the more than 80 of the world's most groundbreaking artworks by history's most influential painters, sculptors, and artists with stunning visuals and insightful quotations. Discover key artworks and artists from across the globe, stretching from the prehistoric Altamira cave paintings and Chinese jade carvings to more impressionism, symbolism, cubism, and pop art. Understand the ideas that inspired masterpieces by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Klimt, Matisse, Picasso, and dozens more, with The Art Book's fascinating overview of painting, drawing, printing, sculpture, conceptual art, and performance art, from ancient history to the modern day.
    • £16.19
    • RRP £17.99
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  • 50 British Artists You Should Know

    Lucinda Hawksley

    Product Code: ABJGZ
    Paperback
    This highly readable and informative collection of the best of British art showcases magnificent portraits by Thomas Gainsborough and Stanley Spencer; landscapes by J. M. W. Turner and David Hockney; satire by William Hogarth and Gilbert & George; sculpture by Henry Moore and Rachel Whiteread; and the latest works by Grayson Perry and Damien Hirst. Each artist is presented in a double-page spread that features a major work, details from the work, a brief biography and fascinating insights into the artist's life and times. Lucinda Hawksley's engaging survey compares the skill of the Elizabethan miniaturists and the magnificence of the High Victorians with the grit of post-war British modernists and the best of the Young British Artists, whose fearless approach to controversial themes make them worthy inheritors of the great traditions of British art.
    • £14.89
    • RRP £14.99
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  • The Story of Pop Art

    Andy Stewart MacKay

    Product Code: CDHSL
    Paperback
    In this age of insta-stardom and selfies, Pop Art still defines the world we live in. Emerging in the 1950s, Pop Art arrived in an explosion of colour, offering bold representations and plenty of humour. All of the celebrities, events and politics that came to define two turbulent decades are encapsulated in their work. Pop Art challenged the establishment and offered a new modernism, blurring the line between art and mass production. Uncover 100 stories in this essential guide to a groundbreaking movement. Enjoy enlightening critiques of iconic works; meet key figures including Warhol and Hockney; and discover inspirational ideas and novel new methods.
    • £17.99
    • RRP £19.99
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  • How to Look at Stained Glass

    Jane Brocket

    Product Code: CCMYR
    Paperback
    The magical qualities of stained glass have an enduring appeal, but church windows tend to be ignored as a form of creative and artistic expression. How to Look at Stained Glass is a fresh, unstuffy guide, which explores the medium by themes, patterns, designs, and effects. Using an A-Z format to reveal a multitude of fascinating details - all the way from apples to zig-zags - it makes looking at gloriously colourful, artistically important windows entertaining and rewarding. This layman's guide requires no previous historical, artistic or religious knowledge and the A-Z miscellany is in keeping with the pot-luck mix of windows to be found in most churches. It covers all the major periods and styles from medieval to modern, Victorian to post-war, eighteenth century to Arts and Crafts, figurative to abstract, and examines the fascinating and evolving iconography of stained glass. Illustrated in black & white and colour and with a list of the top 30 places to see outstanding examples, How to Look at Stained Glass is all that is needed to make sense of and enjoy the array of stained glass windows in the churches of England.
    • £11.69
    • RRP £12.99
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  • Islamic Art

    Luca Mozzati

    Product Code: CCGQG
    Hardback
    From its birth in the 7th century through modern times, the Islamic religion has inspired glorious works of art. This stunning book includes more than four hundred reproductions of treasures of Islamic art that span the world: from southern Europe, along the entire Mediterranean basin to sub-Saharan Africa through the Middle East, India, and Central Asia. Arranged geographically, the objects include paintings, miniatures, ceramics, calligraphy, textiles, carpets, and metal works. Each region is given a thorough introduction that offers historical context and extensive descriptions of its artifacts. Accompanying essays offer guidance in interpreting the many themes that tie these works together, including typology, calligraphy, and religious beliefs. With its large format, exquisite reproductions, and extensive research, this book is a thorough introduction to the Islamic artistic tradition.
    • £23.99
    • RRP £29.99
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  • Art, Faith and Modernity

    Sacha Llewellyn

    Product Code: CCGGN
    Paperback
    Which artists in British 20th century art painted religious images? Broadly speaking there seem to have been two categories: The first concerns artists who created religious images when the religious content was in response to a set subject, for example The Deluge in the 1920 Rome Scholarship in Decorative Painting, or who responded to a specific commission, for example Thomas Monnington's works for The Ormond Chapel, Bradford, Kippen Church and Stations of the Cross for Brede Church in Hastings. The second category concerns a small minority off artists who were committed believers such as Frank Brangwyn, Eric Gill and Stanley Spencer. No account of 20th Century British art can overlook the numerous works of the period that were essentially "religious" in their content. Art, Faith& Modernity examines this question in Paul Liss' and Alan Powers' essays and demonstrates the wide range of expression in more than 200 colour reproductions.
    • £20.00
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  • A Month in Siena

    Hisham Matar

    Product Code: CBIBM
    Hardback
    FROM THE PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING AND MAN BOOKER-SHORTLISTED AUTHOR 'Hisham Matar has the quality all historians - of the world and the self - most need: he knows how to stand back and let the past speak' Hilary Mantel on The Return ____________________________________ When Hisham Matar was nineteen years old he came across the Sienese School of painting for the first time. In the year in which Matar's life was shattered by the disappearance of his father the work of the great artists of Siena seemed to offer him a sense of hope. Over the years since then, Matar's feelings towards these paintings would deepen and, as he says, 'Siena began to occupy the sort of uneasy reverence the devout might feel towards Mecca or Rome or Jerusalem'. A Month in Siena is the encounter, twenty-five years later, between the writer and the city he had worshipped from afar. It is a dazzling evocation of an extraordinary place and its effect on the writer's life. It is an immersion in painting, a consideration of grief and a profoundly moving contemplation of the relationship between art and the human condition. ____________________________________ PRAISE FOR HISHAM MATAR 'Wise and agonizing and thrilling to read' Zadie Smith 'A moving, unfliching memoir' Kazuo Ishiguro 'A treasure for the ages' Peter Carey 'It is likely to become a classic' Colm Toibin
    • £10.39
    • RRP £12.99
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  • The Islamic Art of Persia

    AJ Arberry

    Product Code: BZPVS
    Paperback
    "It is scarcely surprising that Persia - a land where civilization has flourished at a high level for three thousand years-would abound in worldly wisdom. This book illustrates the many ways Persian culture has influenced Persia's neighbours and become a legacy for the whole world.
    • £22.39
    • RRP £27.99
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  • Egypt: History and Treasures of an Ancient Civilization

    Giorgio Ferrero

    Product Code: CBJUG
    Paperback
    This title presents a civilization that never ceases to amaze scholars, enthusiasts and the general public by providing us with exceptional treasures. The magnificent monuments built in ancient Egypt are world famous, just as the general public knows the names of the most famous pharaohs in the long history of Egyptian civilization. Publications, documentaries, magazines and films continue to dwell on the theme of ancient Egypt, a sign of continuing interest in the story of this great culture. But it was only in 1822, when the ingenious intuition of the French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion paved the way for the first decipherment of hieroglyphs, that the thousands of inscriptions on the ancient Egyptian monuments, steles, statues and tombs could once again bear witness to the life, beliefs and political and economic events of this ancient population that had lived along the banks of the Nile and had created the most long-lived civilization in the history of humanity. Since the late 19th century there has been an uninterrupted series of archaeological discoveries that have greatly increased our knowledge of the history and customs of this great civilization. There is no doubt that the most famous and sensational event in this regard was the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, which Howard Carter found almost intact in 1922. This exceptional discovery triggered a new wave of enthusiasm about Egypt that spread in Europe and United States. Many 20th-century and contemporary artists were inspired and continue to be inspired by the iconographic motifs of Egyptian art. Archaeological research is still underway and, thanks to state-of-the-art techniques and technology, Egyptologists can clarify new aspects of the history of this great civilization.
    • £15.19
    • RRP £18.99
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  • Black and Gold Gift Wrapping Papers

    Tuttle Publishing

    Product Code: BZLET
    Paperback
    These fine-quality tear-out wrapping sheets feature twelve Asian-inspired prints, suitable for craft projects as well as for gift wrapping. An introduction details the history and meaning behind the designs and provides some wrapping inspiration. Plus, these patterns are printed with real gold Pantone ink! Tuttle Gift Wrapping Papers are an excellent value a fraction of the price of single sheet gift wrap paper from stationery shops. Each sheet is removable by tearing along a perforated line; Twelve individual sheets and patterns; Perfect gift wrap for any occasion birthdays, anniversaries and various holidays.
    • £10.79
    • RRP £11.99
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  • Leonardo Da Vinci: Detail of the Head of the Virgin (Foiled Pocket Journal)

    Flame Tree Studio

    Product Code: CAYEL
    Other
    Part of a series of exciting and luxurious Flame Tree Notebooks. Combining high-quality production with magnificent fine art, the covers are printed on foil in five colours, embossed, then foil stamped. And they're powerfully practical: a pocket at the back for receipts and scraps, two bookmarks and a solid magnetic side flap. These are perfect for personal use and make a dazzling gift. This example features Leonardo Da Vinci: Detail of the Head of the Virgin.
    • £6.39
    • RRP £7.99
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Art lovers and history fans alike will become obsessed with our stunning art history books.

Beautiful books packed with pictures

In our range of the best art history books, we have some beautiful books packed with stunning photography of the best pieces of art from the past.

Trace the fascinating history of art

Follow the development and evolution of art over the centuries with our brilliant history of art books. Plus, you can discover how contemporary art has been influenced by other cultures in our books on art history from around the world.

Famous artists and movements

With books on famous artists, including Van Gogh and Rembrandt, and famous movements and styles, including art deco and Renaissance paintings, our books take you through the most significant parts of the history of art.

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