Shop now Learn more Shop now Up to 50% off Fashion Prime Photos Shop now Amazon Fire TV Shop now Halloween Pets Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Voyage Listen in Prime Learn more Shop now
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Usually dispatched within 1 to 3 weeks.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
The Nature & Art of Workm... has been added to your Basket
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Nature & Art of Workmanship Paperback – 6 Apr 2007

3 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
£15.27 £18.89
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
£19.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. Usually dispatched within 1 to 3 weeks. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Save £20 on with the aqua Classic card. Get an initial credit line of £250-£1,200 and build your credit rating. Representative 32.9% APR (variable). Subject to term and conditions. Learn more.

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Nature & Art of Workmanship
  • +
  • The Nature & Aesthetics of Design
Total price: £39.98
Buy the selected items together

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Berg 3PL (6 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713689315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713689310
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 0.8 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Book Description

This is a digital reprint of David Pye's original 1968 edition. Within it he argues that the aesthetic quality of our environment depends as much on its workmanship as on its design, and that workmanship has been largely ignored. Mr Pye shows how and why we are conscious of finish and workmanship, goes on to ask why so much of our environment is impoverished and asks what can be done about it. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Pye, who died in 1993, was an architect, industrial designer and craftsman. For many years he was also Professor of Furniture Design at the Royal College of Art, London. He is also the author of Ships and The Nature and Aesthetics of Design.

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr Peter H Parkinson on 26 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was first published in 1968 and I must have read it at that time, but never owned a copy. Reading it again now, confirms that this is a seminal book on the subject, written in a straightforward, engaging and unpretentious style. David Pye was an architect, designer and Professor of Furniture Design at the Royal College of Art, but above all a craftsman. He knew what he was talking about, both from critical observation and from practical experience.

This is not a long book, but it analyses design and craftsmanship with an admirable clarity and introduces ideas which have stayed with me since my first reading of the book. For example the simple but intriguing division of making techniques into "the workmanship of certainty" and "the workmanship of risk." This book is essential reading for every designer, craftsperson, critic and commentator with an interest in the crafts.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perfect for my 3D Design BA and at an excellent price. Covers most of the material I need and very well written. Arrived quickly and packaged well. I would certainly buy from this seller again. Delighted with this purchase.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Urban on 8 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The logic and usefulnes of the presented classification of workmanship is well done and clearly illustrated by many examples. The author knows his subject both by practising and in theory.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Workmanship as a personal statement 7 Sept. 2004
By wiredweird - Published on
Format: Paperback
Pye knows that understanding comes in two steps. The second presents the new knowledge, but the first step clears out old fallacies to make way for the new facts. To do that, he starts this book by thoroughly confusing the question of what is hand work, and what is done by machine. Once that is shown irrelevant, he starts on the points that truly matter.

First, the terms "craft" and "craftsmanship" have been co-opted and corrupted by so many authors that, with regret, he abandons them. Instead, he defines new terms. The first opposed pairs are the workmanship of risk and the workmanship of certainty. Certainty is knowledge that a piece of work will surely complete in the way intended, as is typical in mass manufacture. Risk is the chance that any workpiece could be damaged or destroyed at any step in its handling - a chisel could clip, a hammer could damage the surface, a saw cut might be placed wrong. It doesn't matter whether the tool is a simple hammer or a complex milling machine: either a reliable process or a fallible workman defines the result.

Pye's second distinction is "regulated" versus "free" or "rough" fabrication. Regulated work meets fine tolerances, has precise geometries and surfaces. Free work allows the workman to vary the workpiece somewhat. Free workmanship allows expressive notes, perhaps tool textures or subtle changes of shape. Rough workmanship goes farther. A wood fence, for example, may be straight and strong enough, with coarse shapes, knots in the wood, and even some checking.

None of that distinguishes good workmanship from bad. Good workmanship carries out the practical and esthetic intent of a design, or improves on them. Bad workmanship detracts from the design's usefulness or beauty. In something like a rural stone wall, excessively regulated work might even be considered bad, if it's the one exact geometry in a generally relaxed environment. A rough-hewn bench may be just as good, in its way, as an inlaid Victorian table.

Pye ends this wise book by reviewing what Ruskin and Morris had to say about craft. I won't repeat his arguments, but he points out the reams of nonsense they interleaved between pages of meaningful thought. As with everything he analyzes, he carefully highlights the worthwhile, and elegantly tears up the romantic silliness.

Pye is truly dedicated to workmanship and to dedicated workmen (and, implicitly, women). I recommend this book to anyone who creates anything, whether professionally or for the personal reward in the act of making.

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book for anyone interested in craftmanship and the aesthetics of everyday objects 21 Sept. 2009
By Bruce S. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended as a supplemental reading in a pottery course. The author of the book primarily worked with wood and there are many examples of furniture and turned wood objects in the book.

The real value of this book is in articulating the aesthetics of hand made objects and what makes them special and wonderful as compared to machine made objects. It's an excellent read for anyone who makes things with their hands.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Lucid, practical, a classic 7 April 2000
By George Oliver - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love this book. Pye, in concise and often beautiful language, defines the idea of workmanship as he sees it -- its history, its implications, how it might develop. He gives interesting commentary on the Arts & Crafts movement vis-a-vis Ruskin and Morris as well.
Pye really is a master of the old school, and I would encourage anyone to buy this book for both its own ideas and for a look at a wonderful mind. A great companion to Krenov.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A great book that lives up to expectations 18 Dec. 2000
By Myron Smith - Published on
Format: Paperback
In this book David Pye accurately and concisely differentiates between hand craftsmanship and modern machine done work. He writes his philosophical yet practical, personal ideas on craftsmanship. It is a great discussion for anyone interested in fine workmanship. It attempts to answer questions (or at least provide an entry point into discussion) of why hand workmanship is important, why it appeals to us, and want makes it fundamentally different from machine build crafts. It does not focus on any specific craft (thought Professor Pye is a woodworker himself), but is meaningful and accessable to anyone interested in crafts and hand workmanship. This is a great book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful book on the philosophy of craft 9 Nov. 2009
By Ross Sackett - Published on
Format: Paperback
Other reviews have already set out the details; I'll merely add that I enjoyed reading it and it's had a profound effect on how I view my own craftwork. Realize that it is a craftsman's philosophical reflections, not a how-to manual of craft practice, nor as one negative review lamented, about quality control.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know