Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Pot Book

The Pot Book
The Pot Book, published by Phaidon, features 300 large (almost full-page) colour photographs of various ceramic vessels dating from the past 5,000 years, arranged alphabetically by their potters. It largely follows the same format as Phaidon's The Art Book, The 20th Century Art Book, The Fashion Book, The Photography Book, and The Design Book, though it improves on them in two respects: its entries were selected by a single expert (Edmund de Waal, author of 20th Century Ceramics), and it includes entries for artistic styles in addition to individual artists.

The 300 objects are depicted in exceptional detail, though their locations are not identified and there is no bibliography. Phaidon claims that "The Pot Book is the first publication to document the extraordinary range and variety of ceramic vessels of all periods." However, several comprehensive histories of ceramics have been published previously. Edward Dillon's book Porcelain, from the excellent Connoisseur's Library series, appeared in 1904. The Book Of Pottery & Porcelain (1944), by Warren E Cox, is a two-volume history of pottery, though it also has no bibliography and its illustrations are all black-and-white. Emmanuel Cooper's 10,000 Years Of Pottery (1972) is the best modern history of ceramics. The Dictionary Of World Pottery & Porcelain, by Louise Ade Boger, is a comprehensive reference work.

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