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William Burges: and the High Victorian Dream [Hardcover]

J. Mordaunt Crook
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 45.00
Price: 36.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Feb 2013

William Burges (1827-81) was arguably the greatest of all Victorian architects. But he was more than just the creator of a modest number of fabulous, and fabulously expensive, buildings. He dreamed of hundreds more, designed dozens, and in addition created some of the most remarkable furniture and jewellery of all time.

He was an art-architect. Rich, clever, well connected and short lived, he was uncompromising, profoundly learned, skilled in every process of design and explosively inventive. A brilliant talker, pungent critic and hilarious companion, he was one of Victorian London's great eccentrics and networkers, though he was bewitched by the Middle Ages.

The great buildings that he completed include Cork Cathedral, Cardiff Castle and the even more eccentric Castell Coch, the great Yorkshire churches of Skelton and Studley Royal, the magnificent country houses of Knightshayes in Devon, and Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute, and his own astonishing Tower House in Kensington. His furniture, fabric and jewellery designs and his unrealised projects were also hugely influential, and the former are now enthusiastically collected.

This book was a landmark in Victorian studies when first published in 1981 and is now completely revised and re-illustrated substantially in colour.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln; Revised edition (7 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711233497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711233492
  • Product Dimensions: 31 x 25.9 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Crook has improved on the original with a little extra signposting for readers.'

(RIBA Journal)

'Joe Crook’s exuberant and coruscating writing is ideally suited to describing Burges’s eclectic aestheticism. Every page produces a firework: shutters are ‘alive with quirkish patterns’, furniture sparkles with ‘domelets of mirrored glass’, entering a room is ‘like stepping into an upturned kaleidoscope’. The glitter is underpinned by massive scholarship (192 columns of footnotes). With its glorious illustrations, this is a very beautiful book and a compelling read. The first edition was good. This is better.'

(John Martin Robinson Spectator)

‘A much enlarged and beautified format, all the better to do justice to its subject.'

(World of Interiors)

'This lovely book should now find exactly what it deserves, a whole new readership primed to enjoy Crook's insights into his subject's "strange genius", and indeed into its wider Victorian context . '

(Victorianweb.org)

'A readable and detailed account of its subject, and the additional illustrations and updated information make its re-publication welcome.'

(Art Newspaper)

About the Author

JOE MORDAUNT CROOK CBE is one of the leading authorities on Victorian Architecture and culture, formerly director of the Victorian Studies Centre at London University, and the author of numerous books.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 13 April 2013
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While the original 1981 edition of this book was academically a masterpiece it was let down by the photographs, the majority of which were monochrome, often of dubious quality and consigned to an appendix at the back.

Now in this revised version the photographs are where they belong, alongside the relevant text, there are many more of them and many are in colour. OK there are still a few monochrome photos of Burges' work in there which, bearing in mind how important colour is in his interiors, are as much use as a chocolate teapot but that is this book's only real failing.

This book ought to be required reading for all students of architecture and architectural history then, perhaps, Billy Burges will finally get the universal acknowledgement he deserves as being one of the greatest geniuses of architecture and design.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars William Burges and the High Victorian dream 30 Mar 2013
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Thie is an absolutely beautiful book with luscious illustrations . As it is so comprehensive I havent yet finished reading but so far it is a fascinating account of the life of William Burges and very easy and entertaining reading on all levels
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Burges 3 May 2013
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Beautifully produced update on the original volume, with more details of this extraordinary man's life and genius; excellent all round
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book. 16 Jun 2013
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I've been trying to find a copy of this book for years, ever since I first became aware of Burges's work. This new copy was much cheaper from Amazon than Ebay or other booksellers. Beautiful photographs and extremely well written , a fascinating overview of Burges and his stunning creations. Be aware it's a very big and weighty tome - you aren't going to be able to read it in bed. Fantastic value for money.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victorian eccentric or major arts influence? 29 Dec 2013
By mercian
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Was this intended as a coffee table book, to impress visitors? Its weight and size rules it out as bedside reading. Why do publishers persist in adding thick cardboard covers to an already over-sized book? Could we ask for all such tomes to be printed concurrently in paperback, please?

However, it is impressive, in content and presentation. If ever an artist deserved this wide canvas, Burges does. His faux medieval decoration is amazing, as is his fairy tale architecture. He was fortunate to have the patronage of the very rich Bute, who indulged him totally in his fantasies. You have to visit Castell Coch and Cardiff Castle to appreciate fully his follies. This book does him justice. A must for all Burges watchers
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