The Oxford Companion to Art (1950)

The Oxford Companion to Art (1950)

The Oxford Companion to Art (1950)

Yesterday we visited Fulham Palace and en route found out the most astounding bookshop known as Hurlingham Books at 91 Fulham Substantial St, London SW6 3JS.  It has the most intriguing tactic to displaying publications in the home windows I’ve at any time found – horizontally with the title demonstrating. 

Inside of it’s certainly crammed from floor to ceiling with publications and it’s very a skill to manoeuvre inside without sending a pile crashing to the flooring. There are no groups. You just stare until finally you see a thing that appears interesting.

Having said that it excels in that 1 stand-out attribute of an exceptional second hand bookshop – it has textbooks you’ve got by no means ever viewed prior to. 

Hurlingham Publications in Ranelagh Gardens

In it I observed a pristine 1950 Hardback Edition of “The Oxford Companion to Art – or instead JR did – and he arrived at it down for me from a superior shelf.

It turned out to be a Pretty big and heavy hardback e-book of 1,277 web pages – which I got for £5.

The Oxford Companion of Artwork

I confess this website article is essentially largely to do with me locating out a little bit much more about the e-book. 

It seems the book was current soon after 1950 with subsequent editions showing in 1970 aND 1985.

The Companion to Art was intended as a non-expert introduction to the good arts – with an emphasis on artwork (and NOT “Arts” – and not the sensible arts and handicrafts. The Preface indicates that it is a handbook rather than an encyclopedia and addresses:

  • all human inventive endeavour by all time and all over the earth
  • extra range of substance than other Oxford Companions
  • every of the posts is intended to be an introduction only – although I identified most I’ve go through (dipping into the reserve from front to again) to be extremely complete and gives great summaries.

The entries cover 4 key teams of material

  • biographies of crucial artists
  • accounts of artwork movements and associations of artists
  • explanations of unique terms relating to artwork – furthermore essays on a couple of complex subjects
    • Perspective
    • Graphic Procedures
    • Colour
  • historic explanations of the enhancement of art in precise nations around the world / locations.

Articles or blog posts on specialized matters have been held to a bare minimum but a number of for a longer time and additional specific specialized articles have been integrated when that matter appeared to be of value for knowledge and appreciation over a vast discipline of artwork. Preface

Total, it struck me as a incredibly valuable handbook to have in one’s artwork library and not seriously out-of-date so extended as you comprehend it relates to an era prior to 1950!

In an period when so substantially that is revealed about art is both dumbed down or created by men and women who have not experienced an enough art instruction, I discovered the reserve a refreshing handle which I dipped into all the way property on the tube – and it can be not still left my side because!

You can come across copies on the internet – largely of the later on version which you really should be equipped to get for a lot less than a £10 (whilst do check out out for the postage prices provided the excess weight!). Or you can consider rooting close to in great second hand stores like me!

I do nonetheless have a reservation!  I observed it was based mostly on Osborne’s personal know-how of particular regions of art and exactly where he experienced none he makes no reference to that region.  Indeed he would not even accept that it exists!

Also, I believe the principal issue with it as a guide is it is Substantial and generalist somewhat than expert.  One particular supply proposed 94 editions published among 1960 and 2002 in 4 languages! Even so it is now not in print – most likely since it would be far too significant to make that achievable.

  • In my check out, there are particular spots within it which would make a appropriate e-book to update and republish in a new edition in potential decades. 
  • As certainly has took place to Wilfrid Blunt’s ebook which is now in its (I imagine) fifth version – and boasting my reviews of it in its advertising material! 
Advertising and marketing graphic for The Artwork of Botanical Illustration
including evaluate by ME!


The author

The e book was edited by any individual identified as Harold Osborne (1905-1987) who is characterised in records on the web as a philosopher and civil servant. It reminds me of the way fairly a couple people who are planet renowned authorities in aspects of artwork also experienced employment which paid the charges.

So who is this guy who wrote “The Oxford Companion to Art” ?

He seems to have been a diplomat who used most of his job in South America – but was especially intrigued in the philosophy of aesthetics. Apparently he was also a top authority on present day art background and wrote textbooks for the Oxford University Press.

  • born in 1905, 
  • educated at Wakefield Grammar Faculty, Yorkshire. 
  • undergraduate at Cambridge University, looking at classics and philosophy. 
  • Served in the Intelligence Services in the course of the Next Globe War 
  • Became a British civil servant in South The us and then in the United Kingdom, starting to be Principal Officer at the Board of Trade. Though in South America he revealed two volumes, on Andean Indians, and Bolivia.
  • an influential scholar and editor, and an lively writer during his life. 

I imagined he used a great deal of time though becoming a diplomat in South The united states examining very lots of artwork guides!

Publications on aesthetics and art history incorporated more than 20 monographs and 50 articles or blog posts such as

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