Sanctuary Britains Artists and their Studios is one heavyweight of an art book. The book weighs in at nearly six hundred pages and covers a wide range of British artists from Auerbach to Emin. To mention every artist and good point about this book would take forever. It is very comprehensive, so will stay fresh for a long time as the reader endeavours to read each profile over sometime. Some lesser known artists are given two pages, whereas the more established or infamous artists such as Tracey Emin are allowed several double page spreads.
Of course before even opening the book you know there will be some reference to the studios of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Although only recent they now feel like distant historical figures in the art game. Some of my favourite artist profiles in this book include Frank Auerbach, Maggi Hambling, Gary Hume, Marc Quinn, Ron Arad, Gavin Turk and Sarah Lucas. Funny enough Auerbach's studio isn't shown in the book, yet you will understand why when you read his profile. Artists can be quite secretive about their working methods and the studio. As an artist myself I understand that the studio space is precious.
The beauty of this book is that we get to read about the day to day routines of the artists, their working methods and current activities. What is a little shocking is the passing of time and the YBA's of the 90's. Many still feature in this book, although much older than when they were last in the public eye. Perhaps they are a symptom of the growing celebrity youth culture in the art world, yet artists just don't do Botox so much.
The book will suffer a little from the passing of time, hence what was up to date in 2011 may not be in a few years. Yet the book is still a time capsule of British art in 2011/2012. Sanctuary is a beautifully put together book with fantastic photography. Currently superb value at Amazon.