11 October 2016

The Book Of Books

The Book Of Books
Champ Fleury
The Book Of Books: 500 Years Of Graphic Innovation, edited by Mathieu Lommen, reproduces pages from 125 books published over the past 500 years, spanning the entire history of printing. Published by Thames & Hudson, it was translated from the Dutch edition, Het Boek Van Het Gedrukte Boek.

The featured books range from incunabula such as the Nuremberg Chronicle (Hartmann Schedel, 1493) to Modernist publications including Jan Tschichold's Foto-Auge (1929) and contemporary design monographs like Made You Look (Stefan Sagmeister, 2001). Renaissance masterpieces such as De Humani Corporis Fabrica (Andreas Vesalius, 1543) are included, as are classic works of the Enlightenment such as Denis Diderot's Encyclopedie (1751). A 1521 edition of De Architectura (Marcus Vitruvius) is followed by Geoffrey Tory's Champ Fleury (1529), which includes illustrations inspired by Leonardo's Vitruvian Man.

The book was published to accompany an exhibition at the University of Amsterdam, The Printed Book: A Visual History, and all of the featured books are from the University library's collection. (The first illustration, a page from the Gutenberg Bible, is the sole exception.) The 17th century was a golden age of Dutch printing, and the book includes examples such as a 1664 edition of Joan Blau's Atlas Maior, "the biggest and most expensive atlas internationally available at that time."

The Book Of Books includes a comprehensive bibliography. A History Of Graphic Design (Philip B Meggs), The Book: A Global History (Michael F Suarez and HR Woudhuysen), and 500 Years Of Printing (SH Steinberg) also cover the history of printed books; Printing Types (Daniel Updike; in two volumes) is the standard history of typography.