I just finished reading Thomas Hoving's King of the Confessors, which is about Hoving's adventures in acquiring what's now called The Cloisters Cross. Thanks to him, this English Romanesque carved ivory cross is one of the highlights of the Met Cloisters. The story is wild, and I couldn't put it down.
James Hall's The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History (London: Thames & Hudson, Ltd., 2014) is a really interesting assessment of self-portrait painting as a cultural phenomenon. It's well thought-out, researched, and written, and I greatly appreciated it.
I just finished reading a book that told a wild, but true story about a work of art. Laura Cumming's The Vanishing Velasquez: A 19th-Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece tells the story of an English bookseller who believed that he owned a lost masterpiece by Spanish artist Diego Velasquez. It ends with a huge, still-unsolved mystery.
A few words about Victoria Finlay's Color: A Natural History of the Palette. Finlay travelled all across the world to research historical sources of color pigments. Her book is full of surprising and sometimes alarming facts.
My review of a fascinating book, Rogue's Gallery, about the history of art dealers. As it turns out, it's not just the artists who have big personalities, and art dealers have affected art history a lot. A fun and informative book.
My thoughts on Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts, a really excellent and informative book about twelve, world-class medieval manuscripts.
My experience at the Morgan Library & Museum, a New York City museum of rare books and manuscripts, works on paper, and other small treasures.
As some of you may know, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. has taken several of its 82 copies of the First Folio on tour this year, bringing one to each of the fifty U.S. states and Puerto Rico to honor the four-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Drew University, my alma mater, was the tour's only stop in New Jersey, most likely due to the… Continue reading First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare (an eyewitness account)
Bilbo Baggins, the titular protagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, and his nephew Frodo Baggins, hero of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, shared a September 22nd birthdate. Accordingly, that day is annually celebrated as Hobbit Day, and the entire week is deemed to be "Tolkien Week". In honor of this year's festivities, Biblio.com just published my article "Beyond the Hobbit… Continue reading Happy Hobbit Day! (Biblio.com)
"The Fortsas Bibliohoax, or how a Belgian collector fooled book lovers for the fun of it" I wrote this article for Biblio.com's Book Collecting blog a few months ago now, but I only just found out that it was published. The Fortsas Bibliohoax, an elaborate prank perpetrated by a mid-nineteenth century book lover, is a hilarious story that… Continue reading “The Fortsas Bibliohoax” (Biblio.com)