These are the 166 books that have been most significant in my life. The books I return to.
This is his first book. It offers a critical theory on collecting as the capitalist disease of accumulation and possession, or a substitute for sexual activity: abstraction or regression and the harmony of a completed collection.
Baudrillard, Jean, The System of Objects, Verso.
My books (which do not know that I exist) are as much part of me as is this face...
...I feel now that the quintessential words expressing me are in thiose pages which do not know me, not in those I have written.
Jorge Luis Borges, translator: Alastair Reid, 'My Books', The Book of Sand, London 1979.
So much reading now is strategic, predatory, working favours, grazing for quotes, scavenging for scraps to be recycled. But in the heap are always gems, epiphanies, pleasures. Recognitions.
I do then with my friends as I do with my books. I would have them where I can find them, but I seldom use them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friendship.
Andrew Denton: But you haven't had a drink, famously, for more that 30 years, which is remarkable strength.
Barry Humphries: I don't think it's a…not so much strength. I mean, I think it's just a realisation that it's, um…off the menu, you know. I mean, it doesn't concern me. I have to buy the stuff for people. But I…I just don't drink it myself. It's rather a relief, really, you know. Don't have to look in the newspaper and see what I did last night.
Andrew Denton: And you're safe here. Let me tell you. What…what did that addictive nature of yours mutate into?
Barry Humphries: Oh, other forms of addiction, of course. I mean, I'm addicted to buying books. I haunt second-hand booksellers, as you do. I find it a beautiful place for contemplation and a good way to spend money.2
A good Booke
is the pretious life-blood of a
maſter ſpirit, imbalm’d and treaſur’d
up on purpoſe to a life beyond life.
John Milton, Areopagitica, 1644, a protest against censorship. It is inscribed above the doorway to the Rose Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library, 1911 (a wonderful building).
2. Enough Rope, 29 May 2003, ABC,
Why I collect books
‘The bookbonic plague.’ Graham Ngyuen, 14 August 2014.
Since I began atttending Ivanhoe Primary School in February 1951, I have accumulated and held on to books.3
What has evolved is by no means a collection, which would be rational, or academic, though it does contain some collections within it.
I was to have Ian as middle name named after Ian McLaren, my godfather, but they realised the initials would have been 'RIP'.
Disaster was avoided. Avoid the R.I.P., swim between the flags!
However, no-one ever noticed that Gordon is an anagram of 'drongo'.
So, it may be relevant that my godfather was the historian and bibliographer Dr Ian McLaren, OBE, MLA (1912-2000), my father's Best Man. Very sadly, I never met him, for we would have had so much to talk about: Australian history, books, bibliography and business, despite my many requests to Gordon to arrange such a meeting which all fell on deaf ears.
As a child, in her lifetime my mother gave me some beautiful intriguing pictorial books, most of which I still have.
I was always reading, other than what school required me to. From the age of nine, when my mother died, no-one gave me books as presents, but I always had books out from the school library at East Ivanhoe and the Ivanhoe municipal library. I read: W E Johns (blokey adventure and camaraderie), Enid Blyton (spatial fantasy in The Enchanted Wood, The Faraway Tree and The Rocking Chair), and Rosemary Sutcliffe (narative immersed in a moment history different from my experience).
And I bought priodicals: The Eagle, which was exciting and technical, Knowledge, that weekly grew into an encylcopedia, and later, The Masters, each week covering a different artist. In secondary schooI, except in year 11, I received a book prize each year at school, which I chose myself from Cheshire's Bookshop in Elizabeth Street, though I only seem to retain two of these.
Reading more seriously developed as a shared interest with my friend Michael Luxton at Carey whilst reading together at lunchtime in the Schol library. He took me to my first bookshop The Hill of Content, which I stlll use. At home in East Ivanhoe I had about two metres of books. At Edgevale Road, perhaps 4 metres, but this expanded greatly in London, where I began to favour bookshops over libraries for the expensive luxury of posession. I no longer wanted to only read, but to posess. Why?
This is part of the sense by our early Boomer generation of being free to design our lives and their contexts.
I wanted to create a world, diagram, or model of the mind: physical, tactile and visual. To be, as John does and finds comfort in, physically surrounded by a visual impression of all the knowledge that interests me. And though this could now be digital, it is not enough. Why?
I wanted, needed, to create, and constantly curate, a physical memory palace.
Memory palace (or method of loci: noun phrase, plural of Latin locus = place, or location).
- A device used by early modern writers to help them recall and arrange information, by mentally 'walking through a familiar route.'
A mnemonic technique known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, relying on memorised spatial relationships to establish, order and recollect content, most often in works on psychology, neurobiology and memory, though it was used in the same way at least as early as 1850 in works on rhetoric, logic and philosophy.
- Charles Moore & Donlyn Lyndon's beautiful Chambers for a Memory Palace presents ways of looking closely and experiencing buildings as a stimulus to thoughtful design of memorable.
Historian Tony Judt's (1948-2010) last automomous book was The Memory Chalet (d 2011). His 'memory chalet' is a modest version of a memory palace, based on an unremarkable little pensione in an unremarkable little town in the Swiss Alps, where Judt spent a winter holiday with his parents in the late 1950s. He describes how he would assign fragments of narrative to different parts of the building - to the bar, the dining room, or the bedrooms. Judt depicts the chalet inside his head as a kind of refuge, and his nocturnal visits to it as way of making tolerable the calvary of immobility imposed upon him by his fatal degenerative condition.4
So the ordering of the books on the shelves, within their subject compartments is important, forming a diagram of my mind, generally arranged according to place, rather than topic.
The question: 'But have you read them all?' ceased to hold any meaning for me.
If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them - peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintances. If they cannot enter the circle of your life, do not deny them at least a nod of recognition.
Winston Churchill (who I have never otherwise quoted), in his 'Painting as a Pastime'.
I am predominantly autodidactic, dilettantish and eclectic. The search for knowledge follows some narrative, a saga, a journey, rather than programmatic. One book leads to another. Chance encounters and finds are important: hence bookshops and posted catalogues. Indeed, my favourite bookshop, John Sandoe Blacklands Terrace, Chelsea, is arranged this way. But seeking competeness was a dire risk to restrain.
The physical presence, tactility, acoustic, atmosphere, smell, and the beauty of the book-objects is enjoyable, consoling and reassuring. I obtain great pleasure in a physical bookshop, from browsing without direction, discovering unexpected finds, purchasing, discussing with the shop assistant; and at home, perusing, arranging, and succumbing to the transport of reading and the worlds it evokes.
But exploring knowledge and experience is insuficient, it must be shared: in corespondence with frances, then much more extensively with John: a record, a conversation, a setting things down, a trigger for memory. Just as my slide collection (and to a lesser extent, my record and cd collection in music) and It is a paralell memory palace. Each image, each record album, provokes memory.
I am aware that Hoarding Disorder, the dark side of acquisition, is now identified as a psychiatric classification, distinct from obsessive-compulsive disorder, in the Diagniostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition, 2013 (or DSM-5).
The internet has become an indispensible extension of and a paralell to this: a vast encyclopedia and trade literature library. I can envisage a virtual library, but for me, it would have to be spatial, a virtual space I could step into.
And I still first refer to physical dictionaries and texts. Why? The physical object, the image, and the music are more telling in this.
But this may not continue to be so in the future. Change has already drammatically occurred. John and my intellectual exchange on paper is ended.
Despite my wonderful and diverse friends, there are large areas of my library no longer shared with anyone: most of the literature, many places,
including Rome and Italy, history and architectural history, contemporary art and art history, even heritage conservation.
The replacement for the loss of this conversation is in the physical books, particularly if carefully ordered. And accessible.
Now there are many books: perhaps 20,000: certainly here are 6,000 just in the Study.
Carl Andrew, who I admire, used to say he bought a book a day, and that's a fair estimate.
There is a negative connotation to all this, if seen an as uncritical and obsessively anal retention, but this are not necessarily the only possible view.
Do some become superseded, thus irrelevant? Unfortunately, few become irrelevant. My books are a visual, and chronological record of my mind. A wander round the house is like a swim through my brain. I add, or expand, interests but rarely discard them.
Older books, eg: on art, as historic evidence? New interests do not displace earlier. Unlike my house, my brain is not finite in capacity. Examples of this are teenage interests like theology and alternative ways of living, that still intrigue me 50 years later. I'm very interested in holding a visual record of art exhibitions I went to when I was 17. And at 26, when I travelled, in the postcards and slides.
RP, (7 December 2012) 14 September 2015.
4. From Richard Peterson, Glossary, sourced from: Wikipedia, accessed 18 January 2011 and Charles W Moore & Donlyn Lyndon, Chambers for a Memory Palace. MIT Press, Massachusetts 1994 and 'The lost world.' Tony Judt, The Memory Chalet, reviewed by Jonathan Derbyshire, New Statesman, 18 November 2010. www.newstatesman.com.
5. Eg: to take just the last three books I’ve read: finding Marina Alberti, Advances in Urban Ecology. Integrating Humans and Ecologiical processes in Urban Ecosystems, Springer, New York (2008) 2009, earlier in the year in a corner of Architext, stumbling upon Benjamin Law’s Gaysia in Andrew’s Bookshop Ivanhoe, and finding Tony Judt’s last book with Timothy Snyder, Thinking The Twentieth Century, Penguin, London 2012, in John Sandoe’s posted Catalogue. None oif these would I have found by a rational search of the Internet.
Why I acquire and retain magazines
Why I buy magazines, and retain most of them, is a more difficult question, and perhaps more vulnerable to accusation of neurosis.
The most sought periodicals I receive are: The Age, The Weekend Australian, Country Life, Domus, Apollo, Christmas Cracker, The Monthly, Australian Book Review and The New Yorker, indispensible in that order, and the blogs: Rome the Second Time, Other Cities and The Urbanist. An eclectic mix.
I seek to be surprised and challenged by the previously unknown, to keep up with the facts, evaluation and analysis of new knowledge, and to be faced with beautiful design and images. The pleasurable activities are perusal and surprise by an enexpected outcome, a similar sensation to browsing in a bookshop and chancing upon the unexpected, or unknown.
Having purchased these and many other titles at some expense, I don’t want to discard them, despite that my returning to them for a second perusal is relatively unlikely, yet I may and that possibility is worth the inconvenience, or at least effort of storage.
Then there is the question, raised above, ‘But, do you read them all?’ I frequently feel guilt that I don’t. But again it is a matter if ecleticism and of chance. A bit like channel-surfing on television, without the horribly intrusive advertisments. In a small way, like gambling without the horrendous losses. Of the delight in dipping in. Of beginning an article, found by chance in a magazine, and enjoying reading it, and reading it to its end.
RP, 15 December 2012.
My 166 most significant books: a curation
These are the individual books that are most significant to me in the sense that it is to them, that I return to most often, that mean the most, and that have most influenced me.
There are many authors and topics that are important to me that are not represented here, because they don’t seem to fit this specific criterion, or because I’ve read them cursorily, or not at all. Indeed it would be amusing to compile an equivalent, and shamelessly pretentious list of books that I should have read, or re-read, or perhaps am assumed to have read.
I hold copies of all of these books, unless otherwise noted. They are arranged here roughly in the sequence in which I first read them.
This work resulted from a question from Andrew Rodda at Radio Bar, Fitzroy. But it didn’t turn out as he had hoped. Andrew envisaged a ranking in order of influence, rather than being arranged biographically chronological, as it appears here. I find that expectation of Andrew’s a task impossible to fulfill.
East Ivanhoe: 1943-1970
1. First Things
Designer: George A Adams
Photographs: Paul Henning
Almost certainly, this is the first book I ever owned. I was given it at Christmas, probably 1947, or 1948, when I was two, or three by Nancy Rowe. It still has the gift card inside, although the title and colophon page with all publication details have been removed by its somewhat aggressive reader.
Nancy was the daughter of Arnie (Arnold) Rowe, of R A Rowe & Co, who were Nana's stockbrokers (my mother's mother, whose house I now live in). We thought of the Rowes (I always envisaged them as a rose) as being wealthy, and they lived in a mansion in Orrong Road, Toorak, which still exists.
Their social connection to our family is not known. The book has no words, just full page colour photographs in an exquisite modernist design, reminiscent of those in black and white in Steen Eiler Rasmussen, Experiencing Architecture, Chapman & Hill. London 1959, qv, below.
2. Fairy Tales
Edmund Ward, Leicester (1869) 1950
Author: Hans Christian Anderson
Editor: Svend Larsen
3. Peter Pan and Wendy
Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
London (1938) 1951
Author: J M Barry, retold for girls and boys by May Byron with the approval of the author
My name is written on the flyleaf in my mother's hand. I have coloured in some of the very beautiful drawings of Peter. Peter Pan, a play with music by James Barrie and Grant Foster, at the London Coliseum, directed by Robert Helpmann, with the great Maggie Smith as Peter, which was the first production I ever saw on a London stage.
4. The Magic Faraway Tree
Author: Enid Blyton
As magical spatial and diagrammatic metaphor these books remain seminal. It is the first spatial narrative I can remember, and its imaginatively visual conception still astounds me. I no longer own it.
In the wood stands the Magic Faraway Tree, which is inhabited by magical characters that become Fanny and Dick's friends: Moonface, Silky the Fairy, the Saucepan Man Dame Washalot, Mr Watzisname and the Angry Pixie. It has some of the characteristics of Jack and the Beanstalk, but nicer, because above the tree and the clouds is a ladder, leading to a magic land.
It is different every time they visit, because the land moves on and makes way for a new land. The children may come and go, but must leave before the land moves on, or they will be stuck there, until the hole comes back and they can return down the ladder. I was frightened for them that they would miss the hole. Together they visit the strange lands and have exciting adventures, they include:
The Roundabout Land, which spins and plays music, in it live rabbits and an old man who sings to the music and taps his hand to the beat, it only stops spinning once in a blue moon; The Land of Ice and Snow, with a moon and sun at the same time, polar bears and the Magic Snowman used to live there before Moonface turned him into a puddle, the Land of the Saucepan Man, who used to live there before he came to live in the Faraway Tree. The land has mist around it and saucepans as steps, leading down to his home.
The Rocking Land where you can't take one step forward without taking ten steps back. Hills rise and fall and the land will tip sideways and you have to grab hold of a tree or roll off; the Land of Take-What-You-Want without paying any money; the Land of Dame Snap who has her school for naughty brownies, pixies and fairies; the Land of Sea-Gulls; the Land of the Red Goblins, who used to live there before Wizard Mighty-One took them prisoner in the Land of Wizards; and the Birthday Land you can only visit if someone has a birthday, and provides party food and games for their birthday party.
Other titles in the series are: The Enchanted Wood (1939), The Folk of the Faraway Tree (1946) and Up the Faraway Tree (1951). Also: Enid Blyton, Adventures of the Wishing Chair, George Newton, 1937, and other Blyton books.
5. The Holy Bible
Oxford University Press, Oxford
King James Bible (1611) 1769
The Methodist Hymn Book for Use in Australasia and New Zealand [sic], The Methodist Publishing House, London (1933) 1954.
The Methodist Hymn Book for Use in Australasia and New Zealand [sic], The Methodist Publishing House, London 1933.
Sir Frederick Bridge, music editor, The Methodist Hymn Book with Tunes, The Wesleyan Conference Office, 25-35 City Road, and 26 Paternoster Row, EC, London 1904.
These both are cultural and narative sources and moral exemplars (parables and the sermon on the Mount, particularly from 1956-69, at school, church and Sunday School, and as reflected in the Western art tradition.
I gave Frances a New English Bible as a wedding present in 1970, which I still have. Although my black leather King James Bible that I always took to Church and Sunday School, is now lost, I use Nana’s, that is inscribed as given 'To Mr & Mrs A W Higgs as a memento of October 16, 1915 from Rev C & Mrs Jones, The Manse, Princes Hill, wth their heartiest good wishes’.
The 1933 black leather-bound hymn book held is my mother's, inscribed with here initials on the front board: 'J.H. 25-12-1938.
6. The Jungle Book
Macmillan & Co, Limited
Author: Rudyard Kipling
Illustrations: J Lockwood Kipling and W H Drake
7. Big Tiger and Christian
Author: Fritz Muhlenweg
Introduction: Peter Fleming
Illustrations: Rafaello Busoni
Not sure why this book mattered to me: if I said it was the intercultural relationsahip between the two Asian and European boys, I may be extrapolating.
8. For the King
Oxford University Press
Author: Ronald Welch
Illustrations: William Stobbs
This is held, but several other English historical adventure novels by Welch and Rosemary Sutcliffe read then, were mainly from the school library and not purchased.
9. Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose
Author: Gerard Manley Hopkins
Editor: W H Gardner
Hopkins was enthusiastically promoted by John Sykes, my influential English teacher and housemaster 1962 & 63 at Carey Baptist Grammar School, possibly the best teacher I had.1
1. The eight volumes of Hopkins's Collected Works are published by Oxford. The first includes forty-five essays, which Hopkins produced during his undergraduate career at Oxford (1863-67). Topics range from Platonic philosophy to theories of the imagination, from ancient history to then-contemporary politics and voting rights. Also included are notes from a commonplace book, a remarkable "dialogue" about aesthetics (featuring a fictionalized John Ruskin figure), and the lecture notes Hopkins prepared in the winter of 1868 while teaching at John Henry Newman's Oratory School in Birmingham--writings in which he explores, for the first time, the theories of inscape and instress so central to his poetic practice. The edition is fully annotated and provides a detailed introduction that situates historically Hopkins's academic and creative efforts.
The twelve notebooks represent Hopkins's intellectual and aesthetic development while studying with some of the greatest scholars of the era (Benjamin Jowett, Walter Pater, and T. H. Green), as well as the ethical and spiritual anxieties he wrestled with while deciding to convert to Catholicism (John Henry Newman received him into the Church in 1866). Hopkins never wrote to please his tutors or the university professors--he wrote vividly and searchingly in response to the challenges they presented. Whether evaluating Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, the role of "neutral" England in the American civil war, or the comparative merits of classical sculpture, his first instinct was always to frame the difficult questions.
10. England in the Eighteenth Century
Author: Sir John (J H) Plumb (1911-2001)
'The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III' (1929)
Author: Sir Lewis Namier (1888-1960)
'George III, Lord North and the People, 1779-80' (1949)
Author: Sir Herbert Butterfield (1900-79)
'King George III and the politicians: the Ford lectures delivered in the University of Oxford' (1953)
Author: Richard Pares (1902-58)
These were four of the texts for the year 12 school subject: 'History: England in the Eighteenth Century,' in which our teacher, Mr Dobson, crucially introduced us to the idea of analysis of competing expert views of the same subject. The C18 remains my favourite period of history and architecture.
11. Macbeth and King Lear
Macbeth is one of his darkest and most powerful tragedies. It depicts the corroding psychological and political effects when its protagonist, the Scottish lord Macbeth, chooses evil to fulfill his ambition for power. He commits regicide to become king and then furthers his moral descent with a reign of murderous terror to stay in power, eventually plunging the country into civil war. In the end, he loses everything that gives meaning and purpose to his life before losing his life itself. It was written c1606, performed in1611 at the Globe Theatre, Southwark, London and published in the Folio of 1623.
Macbeth has crossed my life a few times: it was a set text in English Expression at Carey; Davey Wheeler, aged 17, played the role of Donalbain in a Trinity Grammar School Production and madly in love with him as I was, I sent flowers to the stage door for him; Geoffrey was one of the witches (typecasting!) in a school production; and I had the great good fortune with him to see the production below at the Young Vic, very near to the site of The Globe in 1977, the start of a continuing admiration for both these actors, surely the two greatest in the world still.
Macbeth is about how one relates to the future. The question Macbeth poses is of how things will happen. Do the irrational spectres cause the events, or merely predict them.
Though the grisly content of Macbeth has little relevance to me, the supernatural interposes an unstable fulcrum between nature and history. There is the incessant sense of being corroded in the present and the future by irrational fears. Banquo implore the witches:
"If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grains will grow, and which will not,
Speak to me then..."1
King Lear   another of Shakespeare's tragedies, in which old Lear descends into madness after foolishly disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, bringing tragic consequences for all. It was written between 1603-06 and later revised. The Tragedy of King Lear, was also included in the 1623 First Folio. Present editors usually conflate the two, though some insist that each version has its individual integrity that should be preserved. It has searing observations on suffering and kinship. This play has much more poignancy to my family life in relation to my father and his favoured daughter. I have seen many great actors in the role. Below is again the great Ian McKellen, 40 years later, in Melbourne in 2007.
1. William Shakespeare, Macbeth, I, iii, 58-61 and Martin Harrires, Scare Quotes from Shakespeare. Marx, Keynes and the Language of Reenchantment, Stanford, Stanford 2000, p 163, who develops this idea further.
12. The Shaking of the Foundations
Harnmondsworth (1949) 1955
Author: Paul Tillich (1886-1965)
This is the existentialist theological work, first read in year 12, that still moves me. The other was the life and works of Dietrich Bonnhoffer.
Also: Paul Tillich, The Courage To Be, Yale University Press, New Haven 1952
13. Two Hour Shorthand
Author: Henry F Szafarz and Milton L Grahm
14. University: 1964-69 Experiencing Architecture
Chapman & Hill
Hill London 19591
Author: Steen Eiler Rasmussen
This is a clear introduction to basic concepts of Modernist design and continues to inspire designers. When architects pontificate about design, the ideas expressed frequently derive from Rasmussen, who here analyses solids and voids, surface patterns, contrast and harmony, scale and proportion, colour, daylight, texture and sound.
The illustrations are particularly evocative. Experiencing Architecture was the first book we were told to buy in First Year architecture at University of Melbourne. I remember being impressed by its conceptual clarity. But re-reading it as a potential text for RMIT Architectural Technology students in 1990, I was much less certain of its direction.
Steen Eiler Rasmussen, James Bone, London the Unique City, M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1948
Steen Eiler Rasmussen, Towns and Buildings, 1951, and other books by Rasmussen.
This was followed three years later by: Gordon Logie, The Urban Scene, Faber & Faber Limited, London 1954, with its fine photographs and textual clarity.
1. Compare this photograph from Experiencing Architectur with that from First Things.
Design + Built and Natural Enviroment
15. Decades of Decision 1860-. A Compendium of Modern History
Howitz Publications Inc, and the Graham Book Company
Author: Barry Jones
I have been a fan of Barry Jones since I was intrigued by what a pain he was on Bob Dyer's Pick-a-Box programme. Later I realized that he was a rare, early on probably unique, public intellectual in Australian politics, although these were much more common in France and the UK, on both sides of politics, and later still by his wisdom, perception, courage and championship of humane, but seemingly impossible causes, such as hanging, the Australian film industry, the teaching of history, and innovative research and technology. You would often see him around Melbourne, particularly at the top end of Bourke Street, including at the Hill of Content bookshop.
Barry Jones, Dictionary of World Biography, The Age and Information Australia, Melbourne (1994) 1998. (My copy is signed by both the Honourable Malcolm Fraser and the Honourable Edward Gough Whitlam, at the launch in the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria. This was the first time that Fraser and Whitlam had appeared on the same platform together since The Dismissal, clearly engineered by Jones).
Barry Jones, Sleepers, Wake! Technology and the Future of Work, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne 1982.
Barry Jones, A Thinking Reed, Allen & Unwin Sydney 2006. An intellectual and political autobiography.
16. In his own write
London (1964) 1964, fifth printing. Hardback
Author: John Lennon
John Lennon, A Spaniard in the Works, Jonathan Cape, 30 Bedford Square, London 1965. Hardback.
John Lennon, The Penguin John Lennon, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth 1966. Paperback, compilation of the two previous works.
John Lennon, with an afterword by Yoko Ono, Skywriting by Word of Mouth. And Other writings, Including The Ballad of John and Yoko, Pan Books in association with Jonathan Cape, London 1986. Hardback, published posthumously.
Adrienne Kennedy, John Lennon and Victor Spinetti, In His Own Write. The Lennon Play, Jonathan Cape, 30 Bedford Square, London 1968. Hardback.
It was not until late 1964 when they became inescapably irresistible, that I capitulated to the Beatles, about then until then I, 'a sophisticated' University of Melbourne First Year student, had been so snooty. From September 1964, although I left McCartney behind by his second solo album, and tasted Starkey and Harrison intermittently, I was hooked for life on everything Lennon, as I was on Dylan. I loved his surreal and quirky drawings, clever, even mordant, wit and moral steel.
The play was first presented on in 1967 by the National Theatre Company, and in this revised and expanded version in June 1968.
17. The Australian Carpenter
Author: C Lloyd
The clarity of the instructions and freehand drawings here are unparalleled, but very little that is depicted is recognisable on building sites today. Again it was a compulsory First Year purchase.
18. The Referee. A Handbook of Useful Information
Coated Products Division, BHP Steel
Sydney 1988. 28thedition
Formerly called Lysaght's Referee. A Handbook of Useful Information, since its first publication in Melbourne in 1897 as The Metal Trades Referee and Storekeepers Guide of 32 pages. I have the 16th (1935), 18th (1956), 22nd (1963), 25th (1974), 26th (1981) and 28th editions, apparently the final edition published in hard copy. The current downloadable edition is the 32nd (2009), 3M in size. The eleventh publication saw the first publication under the title "The LYSAGHT Referee", coinciding with the opening of LYSAGHT's first Australian factory at Newcastle in New South Wales, and the first Australian production of ORB® brand galvanized corrugated steel sheet.
This little book (never more than 310 A7 pages) was the most indispensable repository not only of Lysaght/BHP product information, but much other Australian building industry facts, including on: farms, statistics and mathematical tables, distances between cities, materials mass densities, standards, postal rates, conversion tables, gauge tables, logarithms, mensuration, trade customs, scaffolding, timber dimensions, population of Australia and a glossary of terms.
19. Anatomy for Interior Designers
New York (1948) 1962
Author: Julius Panero
With its striking cover and unsurpassed explication of Anthropometrics and how bodies fit interiors, this remains unique.
20. Early Melbourne Architecture 1840-1888
Oxford University Press
Author: Casey, Lindsay, Freeman, Freeman & Henderson
When published, this was the only serious source of fine photographs and captions of historic buildings in central Melbourne.
It was superceded by David Saunders, Jacaranda Press, Brisbane: in association with the National Trust, 1966.
21. Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. The Complete Architectural Works, 1934-1938, Volume III
Thames & Hudson
(Le Corbusier) edited by Max Bill
Translated: A J Dakin
(Le Corbusier) edited by W Boesiger, translated: A J Dakin, Le Corbusier et son atelier rue de Sevres 35. 'Oeuvre Complete, 1952-1957, Volume VI, Thames & Hudson, London 1966.
(Le Corbusier) edited by W Boesiger, translated: A J Dakin, Le Corbusier et son atelier rue de Sevres 35. 'Oeuvre Complete, 1957-1965, Volume VII, Thames & Hudson, London 1965.
(Le Corbusier) edited by W Boesiger, translated: Henry A Frey, Le Corbusier. Last Works. Volume VIII of the Complete Architectural Works, Thames & Hudson, London 1970.
Philippe Boudon, Lived-in Architecture. Le Corbusier's Pessac revisited, Lund Humphries, London 1972.
The above 4 books I bought during my Architecture course.
Charles Jencks, Le Corbusier and the Tragic View of Architecture, The Architect and Society, Allen Lane, Penguin Books (1973) 1975.
These volumes of the complete works were bought from the Melbourne University Bookroom And several others by and on Le Corbusier (1887-1966), who died during my third year.
Architectural History + Built and Natural Enviroment
22. The Australian Ugliness
Melbourne 1960 (Text Publishing; Melbourne 2011)
Author: Robin Boyd
Robin Boyd, Victorian Modern: 111 years of modern architecture in Victoria (Melbourne University Architecture Students' Society, Carlton 1947) Robin Boyd Foundation, South Yarra 2011.
Robin Boyd, photographs and design: Marc Strizic, afterword: David Saunders,Living in Australia, Pergamon Press, Sydney 1970.
Robin Boyd, The Puzzle of Architecture, Melbourne University Press, Carlton 1965.
Robin Boyd, Australia's Home. Its Origins, Builders and Occupiers, Melbourne University Press, Carlton 1952.
And several others numerous articles in The Age by Boyd (1919-71) and the editions of Architect he designed and edited.
As an architectural student in Melbourne during the 1960s, Boyd was the principal hero for my peers and me. Late at night, driving slowly up Walsh Street, South Yarra and passing 290, one could look up to glimpse the famous skylight illuminated and imagine great man working over his desk.
Boyd was the greatest advocate for architecture, for Australia and for Modernism in twentieth century Australia: in his designs, his prolific writing, his frequent appearances on television, in public statements, as an historian, in his teaching, and in his untiring work for the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. He was the only Australian Post-war public intellectual in the visual arts and the most famous architect of his generation.
I can still feel the visceral shock and ahe awful void from his cruel and sudden death, remains unfilled, forty-two years later.
He was a member of Australia's greatest family of artists and writers, the Boyd-a'Becketts. His own marriage to Patricia was a one of several that linked the two families. He wrote thousands of articles and seven books between 1939 and his death and edited the RAIA's Architect journal at its provocative peak. At least four of Boyd's earlier books were very influential and in some ways, not yet superseded: Victorian Modern, Australia's Home, The Australian Ugliness (1960) and The Walls Around Us (1962).
Australia's Home was a major stimulus to research in architectural history at the University of Melbourne and for all concerned in heritage matters'.1 It preceded publication of Early Melbourne Architecture in 1953 and Morton Herman's Early Australian Architects and their Work in 1954. He wrote in clear, memorable, witty, persuasive, jargon-free prose.
In 1947, he founded the RAIA-The Age Small Homes Service, which offered architect-designed houses at affordable budgets. The RAIA awarded him its Gold Medal in 1970, its youngest-ever recipient.
Initial awareness of the significance of architects such as Harold Desbrowe-Annear and Robert Haddon is due to Boyd's trailblazing research. It is surprising how much of our view of past Australian architecture has been influenced, even determined by his ideas and observations.
He was also a founder of the National Trust. It was Robin Boyd ... who did much to pave the way for a National Trust in Victoria. Approaches to the Armytages regarding Como were initiated in 1955 when Boyd asked his relative Joan Lindsay for her and Darryl to talk to them. Boyd was a member of the first Trust Council in 1956.
Boyd was the only Australian architect who was a public intellectual and activist. He was an ideas architect, developing themes, journalist, TV presenter, fim-maker, editor, writer and linked cultures. Henry Bolte could not stand him! He was the first Australian starchitect and he inspired us all. There has been no-one remotely like him since.
Melbourne + Built and Natural Enviroment
23. The Classical Language of Architecture
The British Broadcasting Corporation
The MIT Press, Cambridge Massachuretts Institute of Techniology
Cambridge, Massachusetts (1961) 1971. (Both held)
Author: Sir John Summerson
And several others by Summerson. Also:
Frank Salmon, editor, Summerson and Hitchock. Centenary Essays on Architectural Historiography, Studies in British Art: 16, published for The Paul Mellon Centre for Sudies in British Art, The Yale Centre for British Art, Yale University Press, New Haven & London 2006.
A single lecture, a model accessible exploration of an architectural language. I saw him once, towards the end of his life. of the Sir John Soan Museum. A porter had announced to a visitor 'Sir John will see you now’ and his tall languid figure memorably emerged down the stair from the upper levels. It was if 'Sir John' might have been Sir John Soane himself.
24. De Architectura (The Ten Books on Architecture)
Harvard University Press
Cambridge, MA. Venice 1914 (c1C BC, 1567)
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio
with plates by Andrea Palladio
Much is surprisingly still relevant.
25. Eye for Colour
Scotland and Collins
Author: Bernat Klein
This beautiful book, again bought during my architecture course, was the first to open my eyes to the potential of colour. I visited his beautiful Modernist studio in 1975, near Selkirk, Scotland, designed by Peter Womersley, the architect who had designed Klein's house, High Sunderland, in the 1950s. Klein had established a cottage industry of hand-knitters, employing up to 250 people. No one in Australia has understood colour in this way.
Also: Bernat Klein, Design Matters, Martin Secker & Warburg Limited, 1976.
26. Community and Privacy: Toward a New Architecture of Humanism
Authors: Serge Chermayeff and Christopher Alexander
Chermayeff, Alexander, Sommer, Halprin, Cullen and McHarg, all absorbed me in my final years at Melbourne University, a prequel to Venturi's Post-modernity, as I began to realize there was more to consider than Mies' geometries and Wright's organics: the behaviour of people, journeys, siting and context, eg: in Utzon's courtyard Kingo housing, Hilleroed, Helsingor, 1956-58 and the Woodland Crematorium, Erik Gunnar Asplund, Stockholm, 1935-40 and in Merchant Builders project houses in Melbourne.
27. Personal Space: The Behavioral Basis of Design
Prentice Hall Trade
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 1969
Author: Robert Sommer
The Architectural Press
London (1961) 1964
Author: Gordon Cullen
Gordon Cullen (1914-94) was an architect, urban designer, planner and illustrator. He proposed an approach to architectural depiction as a natural, graphic style by a (perhaps the) master, a guide to terminology, concepts and process in the design of groups of buildings and public places (or urban design). It now seems only occasionally dated in its examples, despite being 51 years old. Townscape-like drawings were included in the first Metropolitan Strategy Implementation (1981), but by the time the Ivanhoe Plan Structure Plan was developed in 2011-12, no inspirational design images were used, despite numerous requests from me.
I chanced upon this book (below) soon after I arrived in London, even before I read Townscape, and since I'd just visited some of the places desribed, was especially poignant. It visits many Italian towns. The text is engagingly quirky and flip in a way hardly serious enough for today, the photograps sharply observed particularly their matriality and their light and shade, and Browne’s visual analysis, townscape anaysis, and locating the photographic viewpoints, incisive, eg: of Palmanova and Sabbionetta.
It was actually written by Hubert de Cronin Hastings (1902-86), under the pseudonym Ivor de Wolfe, with photographs taken by him and his wife Hazel (alias Ivy de Wolfe). He claimed to have invented the word Townscape (though it was recorded much earlier, in 1880, and in its present sense, by Thomas Sharp in 1948 in a book actually published by Hastings' own Architectural Press), and he used his position as both owner and editor of the Architectural Review to promote it as a technique to inspire historically layered, visually stimulating, dense cities in the period of post-War reconstruction and new towns. Hastings with Gordon Cullen developed the theory of Townscape.
But in The Italian Townscape, Hastings made his own statement, distinct from Cullen's, sharing his concerns about the blandness of consumer society and celebrating Italian towns and cities as a theatrical background for everyday life. At a time when English people were migrating to the suburbs and cars were destroying the conviviality of cities, Hastings anticipated the return to an ideal of public space, where 'the only true happiness lies at the centre.' He rekindled appreciation for individual urban elements: including the typically idiosyncratic: 'Defensive armour,' 'constipation,' 'toughies' and 'sissies' and 'all creeping things.' It is the Italy of Fellini's films.
It is to be republished in February 2013, with a new introduction by Professor of Architecture and Cultural History at the University of Greenwich, Alan Powers, and Professor Erdem Erten of the University of Izmir in Turkey.1
Also: Ivor de Wolfe, Sketches and Plans: Kenneth Browne, photographs: Ivy de Wolfe, The Italian Townscape, The Architectural Press, London 1963.
Architectural Theory + Built and Natural Enviroment
29. Design with Nature
American Museum of Natural History
New York 1969
Author: Ian McHarg
His design approach at Sea Ranch (with early Charles Moore) showed a way.
30. The Man-made Object
Author: György Kepes
With chapters by Christopher Alexander, Marshall McLuhan and Herbert Read.
Also: Editor: György Kepes, Education of Vision, Studio Vista, London 1965.
Design + Built and Natural Enviroment
31. Melbourne: A portrait
Authors: Mark Strizic and David Saunders
The finest evocation of the 1950s Melbourne at the time of of my juvenile wanderings.The best evocation I know of the imagery of present Melbourne, masquerading as a children's book, is the striking:
Maree Coote, When You Go to Melbourne, Melbourne style Books, South Melbourne, 2013.
32. The White Negro
New York 1957.
Author: Norman Mailer
Norman Mailer, The Naked and the Dead, Rinehart, New York 1948.
Norman Mailer, Barbary Shore, Rinehart, New York 1951.
Norman Mailer, The Deer Park, New York: Putnam's, New York 1955.
Norman Mailer, An American Dream, Dial, New York 1965.
Norman Mailer, The Armies of the Night, New American Library, New York 1968.
Norman Mailer, Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968. New York: New American Library, New York 1968.
And several others by Mailer.
Early Mailer (1923-2007) and Ginsberg defined the freewheeling existential hipster lifestyle. Mailer seemed to understand the very ethos of the USA. His feuding with Vidal characterized the straight and gay sensibilities.
33. Howl and Other Poems
City Lights Press
San Fransisco 1956
Author: Allen Ginsberg
Ginsberg wrote parts of it in the famous artists' Chelsea Hotel, New York, wher later Bob Dylan wrote Blonde on Blonde.
And others by Ginsberg.
34. Battle for the mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brainwashing
Author: William Sargeant
A lesson in how crowds and individuals, whether during religious conversion, or brainwashing, are persuaded inevitably to act in surprisingly uncharacteristic and frightening ways.
35. Portrait of a Marriage: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson
Author: Nigel Nicholson
This book, possibly first suggested to me by Lene Stevens (‘...the problem with your marriage, dear boy, is that Frances is not lesbian,’ she declared), explored what seemed to Frances and I to be the potential of a polyamorous (not a word we used then, we said ‘threesomes’) and sexually open relationship, within a marriage, infused with art, writing, and love, and expressed in the physical form of a place, here Sissinghurst Castle, which, urged by Barnaby Dickins’ mother, I soon visited, firstly in November 1973.
It is the story of two people who married for love and whose love increased with every passing year, although each was constantly unfaithful to the other. Both loved people of their own sex, but not exclusively. Their marriage not only survived infidelity, sexual incompatibility and long absences, but became stronger and finer as a result. Each came to give the other full liberty without enquiry, or reproach. Their marriage succeeded because each found permanent and undiluted happiness only in the company of the other. If their marriage was seen as a harbour, their love affairs were mere ports-of-call. It was there that both were based
Landscape/Relationships + Built and Natural Environment + Gay
36. The Leopard
Author: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Tomasi’s novel, Il Gattopardo, narrates the changes in Sicilian life and society during the Risorgimento. Published posthumously in 1958 by Feltrinelli, after two rejections by the leading Italian publishing houses of Mondadori and Einaudi, it became the best selling novel ever in Italy and one of the most important novels in modern Italian literature. In 2012, The Observer in London named it one of ‘The 10 best historical novels’. Tomasi was the last in a line of minor princes in Sicily, and had long considered writing a novel based on his great-grandfather, Don Giulio Fabrizio Tomasi, an earlier Prince of Lampedusa. After the Lampedusa palace, Palermo was bombed and pillaged in 1943 by Allied forces in World War II, Tomasi sank into depression, and began to write Il Gattopardo as a way out.
The palace’s c1800 Baroque façade survives in the alley of that name, behind Piazza Olivella where the Archaeological Museum is. It is next to the C17 Oratorio di Santa Cita, with Serpotta's magnificent stuccos. Then on along Via Valverde and down Discesa dei Bambinai, with the C16-18 Oratorio del Rosario in San Domenico, also with Serpotta’s work. Following the route ridden by the Salinas to Piazza San Domenico, where the Palazzo Monteleone used to be, which was the Ponteleone Palace where the marvellous ball scene takes place in The Leopard. Visconti o shot the scene in the C18 Valguarnera-Gangi Palace, Piazza Croce di Vespri.
In Via Merlo is the Palace of the Prince of Mirto, open to the public, donated to Sicily in excellent condition with many of its furnishings enabling understanding of the lost aristocratic lifestyle. Across Piazza Marina, is the C!6 Chiesa di Santa Maria della Catena, overlooking the little Harbour of the Cala. Both these places are mentioned in The Leopard. Just like the former C!9 Hotel della Trinacria, where the Prince died, after receiving the viaticum by a priest who hurries from the C17-18 Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pietà almost opposite it, and next door to the C18 Lanza Tomasi Palace, Via Butera n°28, which was Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampeusa's last home.
Its C18 façade is visible from Passeggiata delle Cattive, which, above street level, adjoins the palaces including that of the Prince of Butera, and overlooks the sea. By appointment it is sometimes possible, for scholars to visit the Tomasi' library, now owned by his adopted son and heir. Near the Lampedusa Palace, beautifully restored by the municipality, is one of the convents which, dominated the town's landscape, marking, in Tomasi's opinion, its identity unmistakably.2
A Gattopardo is actually not a leopard, but a several, native to North Africa, which is near to Sicily. Lampedusa is the largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands. The comune of Lampedusa e Linosa (Ancient Greek: Lopadoussa) is part of the ancient Greek Sicilian province of Agrigento, famed for its Greek temples.
In 1963, Luchino Visconti (1906-76) made the novel into a film of the same name, with the surprisingly apposite casting of Burt Lancaster as Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina, Alain Delon as Tancredi Falconeri, Don Fabrizio's nephew, and in her screen debut, Claudia Cardinale as Angelica Sedara, later Bertiana. Perhaps one reason that the film is so sympathetic, is that Viscionti was also an Italian nobleman, Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo, though from Milan, a very different and much wealthier part of Italy. As a youth, through his cultivated family, Visconti met the composer Giacomo Puccini, the conductor Arturo Toscanini and the writer Gabriele D'Annunzio. During World War II, he joined the Italian Communist Party.
I then became a huge fan of the films of Visconti, who was an out gay theatre, opera and cinema director and screenwriter. John saw several of his opera productions at Covent Garden, but the last there was La Traviata in 1967, well before my time. Visconti’s last partner was the out bisexual Austrian actor Helmut Berger (b1944- ), who played Martin in Visconti's film The Damned, in Visconti's Ludwig in 1972 and Conversation Piece in 1974, with Burt Lancaster. An earlier lover was the film director Franco Zeffirelli (b1923- ), the director and producer of films and television, director and designer of operas and a former Italian senator (1994-2001) for Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia party. Visconti would not have approved. He also offered to recast the image of Benedict XVI.
Visconti’s other films include: Senso, 19 Rocco and his Brothers, 1960; The Damned, 1969; Death in Venice, 1971; and Ludwig, 1972. I did not read the book or subsequently see the film until I did so with Frances, almost a decade later. As so often for me, they both moved me for their elegaic power and atmosphere, in evoking a lost hermetic world.
On 18 March 1982, I visited Palermo, seeking the ethos of Lampedusa, but oblivious to its Mafiosi connections. Its Ottoman-Baroque crumbling excesses were unforgettable.
(Sir) Anthony Blunt’s, lavish and now rare book Sicilian Baroque, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1968, which although rigorously scholarly, is particularly evocative of the lushly decaying architectural setting of The Leopard. It depicts the world that was still apparent when I was there, and meant much to Blunt.
Tim Benton (b 1945, in Rome), the book’s remarkable photographer, is still Professor of Art History at the Open University in the UK, a writer and broadcaster and has written extensively on Le Corbusier. As a student, he worked in the photography department of the Courtauld, the art research institute headed by Blunt, taking photographs of Italian Baroque buildings and he began to work there with Anthony Blunt. Refer also: Baroque Rome.3
3. www.vivavoices.org, qv.
Fantasy Places + Built and Natural Environment
37. Max: A Biography of Max Beerbohm
Author: Lord David Cecil
Recommended by Wilhelmus Janssen in his Bloomsbury phase, my first major biography and the start of my fascination with Max, a kind of super-refined prequel to Warhol, and who also was fascinated by defining celebrity and fame as a value. John and I once saw the exquisite, Lord David Cecil at the opera.
'[At Oxford Kingsley Amis's] supervisor was Lord David Cecil, who seemed disinclined to supervise anything at all; after a term and a half had passed without any contact bet, Kingsley decided to go in search of him at New College. This caused much amusement at the porters' lodge, as if he had asked for the Shah of Persia: 'Oh no, sir. Lord David? Oh, you'd have to get up very early in the morning to get hold of him. Oh dear, oh dear. Lord David in college, well I never did.'1
1. From Wikipedia, accessed 4 December 2012.
38. Myra Breckinridge
New York 1968
Author: Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal, The City and the Pillar, 1948.
Gore Vidal, A Thirsty Evil, 1956.
Gore Vidal, Ben Hur, 1959. An unaccredited script, for Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
The story goes that Director William Wyler needed script doctors to re-write a script written by Karl Tunberg. Vidal collaborated with Christopher Fry, reworking the screenplay, on condition that MGM release him from the last two years of his contract. Producer Sam Zimbalist's death complicated the screenwriting credit and the Screen Writers Guild resolved it by listing Tunberg as sole screenwriter, denying credit to Vidal and Fry based on the screenwriting credit system favoring original authors.
Vidal later claimed in the documentary film The Celluloid Closet that to explain the animosity between Ben-Hur and Messala, he had inserted a gay subtext suggesting that the two had had a prior relationship, to which the rather thick actor Charlton Heston was oblivious. Heston competes in the chariot race with Stephen Boyd, who Vidal claimed in Palimpsest was gay. Raquel Welch, who was also inBen Hur, said: 'He was so hot with his cleft chin and he was so not interested in me.'1
Gore Vidal, Screening History, 1992.
Gore Vidal, Screening History, 1992.
Gore Vidal, Screening History, 1992.
Gore Vidal, The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal, 2008.
Gore Vidal, Gore Vidal: Snapshots in History's Glare, 2009.
And several others by Vidal.
I read The City and the Pillar, written in the year I was born, before 1973 because I remember discussing it with Paul. It is the first novel whose openly gay and well-adjusted protagonist is not killed off at the end of the story for defying social norms. This is so with E M Forster's Maurice that was written in 1913-14, and revised 1932 and 1959-60. Although shown to friends, including Christopher Isherwood, it was only published in 1971 after Forster's death, and I read it in London c1974.
Then I read Myra Beckinridge too, before I knew of Virginia Woolf's Orlando. It depicts evolving sexualities and an ethos of queer.
Sex/Humour + Gay
39. The Female Eunuch
Author: Germaine Greer
The contraceptive pill, Greer and Altman informed my first fulfilled, open and liberated relationship, which happened to be heterosexual.
40. Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation
Author: Denis Altman
41. The Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships
The Grove Press
Author: Eric Berne
A salutary lesson to curtail ironic psychological play, which endanger relationships.
Sex + Gay
42. The RSVP Cycles. The Creative Process in the Human Environment
George Braziller Inc.
New York 1964
Author: Lawrence Halprinbr
Lawrence Halprin, Cities, MIT Press, Massachusetts and London (1963) 1972.
A salutary lesson to curtail ironic psychological play, which endanger relationships.
43. The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects
Bantam Books and Penguin
New York 1967
Author: Marshall McLuhan
Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, War and Peace in the Global Village, 1968, and several others by McLuhan. Enormously influential and prophetic of the predominance of technology over content, as exemplified especially RMIT, 45 years later.
44. Civilisation: A Personal View
John Murray (Publishers) Ltd / BBC Publications / Harper & Row Ltd
Author: Kenneth Clark
The book of the television series narrated by the Lord Clark (1903-83), art historian, author, scholar and curator. At 28 he headed the Ashmolean in Oxford, at 31 he directed the National Galleryand Surveyor of the Queen;s Pictures, had presented more than 50 TV programmes, including a series on Japanese art. The opening paragraph on the Pont des Arts, Paris is famous, and evocative of what is to come: Euro/Americo-centric, white and male, yet civilisation needs defending more than ever.1
I am standing on the Pont des Arts in Paris. On the one side of the Seine is the harmonious, reasonable facade of the Institute of France, built as a college in about 1670. On the other bank is the Louvre, built continuously from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century: classical architecture at its most splendid and assured. Just visible upstream is the Cathedral of Notre Dame --not perhaps the most lovable of cathedrals, but the most rigorously intellectual façade in the whole of Gothic art....
What is civilization? I do not know. I can't define it in abstract terms... yet. But I think I can recognise it when I see it: and I am looking at it now.
Commissioned by Daviod Attenborough then controller of BBC2, and broadcast in 1969, the series was made over the previous three years. Although hugely popular, Clarke’s emphasis on connoiseurship, private partronage, direct state patronage, and the life of country houses, was so out-of synch with its time. Discussing the fall of the Roman Empire, Clarke stated that ‘it does seem hard to believe that western civilisation could ever vanish and yet you know it has happened once.’
It was the year of revolution and sssasinations, and in May 1968, Clarke and his crew found themselves in Paris in the thick of the évenéments: youth street riots. His producer Michael Gill recalled: ‘riot police... just off-camera... I was gassed.’7
A current world version of this famous book and mini-series is clearly needed and in 2014 the BBC announced it was considering a remake. I offer myself: and I certainly would not be defeated by defining ‘civilization’ and not in the diminished concept that Clark claimed it to be. The series was criticised immediately for its limitations by his bete noir John Berger.
A Melbourne version might begin by standing on Princes Bridge, and noticing: St Paul’s Cathedral, Federation Square, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Arts Centre the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the MCG in relation to the Wurrinjeri place there.
I once wrote a poem about an Ivanhoe version, beginning by sitting in Café Ivanhoe.
I’m sitting at a faviourite table at Paul’s
Café Ivanhoe. On the distant horizon is the tall grey
reinforced concrete chimney of Amcor’s paper plant,
clad with the earliest glass curtain wall in Australia.
To its right is the slender spire of the Mary Immaculate Church:
brash modernism by Mockridge Stahle & Mitchell, but
in the clear-eyed tradition of twelfth century Gothic.
To its right and nearer, is the couth Arts-and-Crafts façade
of the former fire station, once noted by Edquist.
Bookending the straggling shops at left are two modest 1930s two-storied shops: the nearer is fan-rendered Spanish Mission. Just visible is the Romanesque red brick tower of the Uniting Church. And behind me at right, is St James’s Anglican Early English Gothic, with exquisite windows by Christian Waller. At its left is its red brick Arts-and-Crafts hall by Alexander North; and behind me, just out of view is the great Dudokian Heidelberg Town Hall: our citadel.
1 November 2012
Art + History
45. The Merchant of Prato
Francesco di Marco Datini 1335-1410
New York 1957
Author: Iris Origo
Lene Stevens recommended that I read this before I left for Italy. It was then very hard to get a copy, and so she loaned me her copy. It was my entrée into the historic record of Florentine Renaissance business and family life, that was lived and operated from the great palazzos. I visited Florence, and the Palazzo Davanzati soon afterwards, but I have never been to La Foce, the Origo’s estate, though I have now read and hold most of Iris Origo’s books, and most recently, Caroline Moorehead’s superb biography.1
1. La Foce - 61, Strada della Vittoria -53042 Chianciano Terme - Siena, Italy - Phone e fax: (+39) 057 869 101 - Email: email@example.com, www.lafoce.com The garden is open to the public on Wednesday afternoons, and there is a restaurant and accommodation.
History + Built and Natural Environment
46.'Notes on Camp,' in Against Interpretation: And Other Essays
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
New York 1966. Paperback
Author: Susan Sontag
My attitude has been, perhaps always, informed by a naturally camp sensibility, not in the sense that that word is generally understood, as meaning effete and effeminate, but rather in Sontag's sense of a complex sensibility, observing the normative from the outside, in a critical way, 'at slight an angle to the universe,' in in E M Forster's phrase in introducing the Alexandrian Greek poet Constantine Cavafy to the English-speaking world in 1919.
And of creating one's own world-view, without asking permission for anything, when society's permission would never have been forthcoming, at least until the C21, and even then, being soon submersed by the dead weight of societal convention, technological means, nostalgia, and by fashion,of allof which I am suspicious.
In 1973, after I had left Melbourne, Frances posted me a photocopy of this essay to read on the boat to Europe.
And other books by Sontag.1
Theory + Gay
47. Theory and Design in the First Machine Age
Praeger (1960) 1967
Author: Reyner Banham
Reyner Banham, The Architecture of the The Well-Tempered Environment, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1969) 1984.
And several others by Banham, and numerous articles in New Society and the Architectural Review in the 1970s.
Mary Banham, Paul Barker, Sutherland Lyall and Cedric Price, foreward: Peter Hall, A Critic Writes. Easays by Reyner Banham, University of California Press, Berkely and Los Angeles 1996.
This is another of the well-chosen books I read on the boat to Europe in 1973. It follows on from Pevsner's Pioneers of the Modern Movement (1936). Peter Reyner Banham (1922-88) was taught by Anthony Blunt (qv), Sigfried Giedion and Nikolaus Pevsner, who directed him away from art, to study architecture.
He embraced New Brutalism, Cedric Price, Peter Cook and Archigram, then like several other Englishmen, eg: David Hockney, also the 'Surfurbia,' the Foothills, 'The Plains of Id,' and 'Autopia' of Los Angeles. Banham said that he learned to drive so he could read the city in the original. In early 1975, John took me to hear him talk at the USA Embassy London, and later I heard speak him at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (now RMIT University), in Melbourne. He was always interesting, hip, and often provocative, yet well grounded in architectural history.
Architectural Theory + Built and Natural Environment
48. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture
The Museum of Modern Art
New York, (1966) 1977
Author: Robert Venturi
The manifesto of the acknowledged guru of Post-modernism, that I bought earlier, but also first read on the boat in 1973. Venturi leaps beyond the clarity and purity of modern spaces and forms, into the mystery, meaning and contextualisatioin of decoration and fragmentation. These characteristics he explores in Baroque, Rococco and Mannerist buildings, and he was the first to open my disbelieving eyes to their life and richness. The book is relevantly, if minutely, illustrated. It needs to be read with Bannister Fletcher as a somewat bulky book mark.
Architectural Theory + Built and Natural Environment
49. Remembrance of Things Past (Seven Volumes)
1913-1927, English: 1922-31 Volume One: 'Swann's Way.'
Author: Marcel Proust
I tried to read this on the boat in 1973. I have still only read the first book and seen the film and read Jean Genet and Edmond White on Proust. But I was enthralled.
Fiction + Gay
50. The Heroic Period of Modern Architecture
Thames + Hudson
London 1981 Authors: Alison Smithson + Peter Smithson
Formerly published serially in A as: Heroic Monuments of the Modern Movement
Alison + Peter, Smithson, Without Rhetoric – Architectural Aesthetic, 1955-72, Latimer New Dimensions, 1973
Alison + Peter Smithson, The Charged Void – Urbanism, The Monacelli Press, 2003.
Alison + Peter Smithson, The Charged Void – Architecture, The Monacelli Press, 2001.
And several others by the Smithsons.
This documents the Smithsons’ (Alison Smithson (1928-1993) and Peter Smithson (1923-2003)) tough European New Brutalist canon (comparable, and arguably preferable, to Henry-Russel Hitchcock and Philip Johnson’s earlier exhibition, the International Style in MOMA in 1931, which does help with criteria). The historiography, canon and definition of New Brutalism is even now still being debated.
The book was published in Monica Pigeon and Theo Crosby’s AD magazine in monthly installments. I photocopied these pages and took them as my main guide for buildings to seek out in Europe, with a series of AD Map Guides for the various cities I visited, eg: Rome, Vienna, Paris, Barcelona and London.
51. Evocations of Place: The Photography of Edwin Smith
Author: Robert Elwall
Increasingly I have come to realise that photography is important to me. Smith (1912-71), an English photographer of gardens, landscapes and architecture, who worked only in black and white, is for me, the greatest architectural and landscape photographer ever; and Snowdon, William Yang and Nan Goldin, in their differing ways, are the greatest photographers of people. Other architectural photographers include: Eric de Mare, John Piper and Mark Strizic.
In Melbourne, Peter Brown evolves from the corpus of Smith and continues his fine approach here in Melbourne. Photography is not principally creating memorable images,and so I have an ambiguous regard for the work of my contemporary and friend John Golings,but to me his approach is supreme promotion, andin no way describing, or evoking the ethos of a place, or space.1
Peter Brown, Incidental Images: Photographs of Peter Brown, 2009.
Richard Stringer, ‘Pleasure of Place: Photographs by Richard Stringer’, Queensland Art Gallery, 26 October 2013 – 16 March 2014. [Catalogue, held].
Photography + Built Environment
52. Nairn's London
Author: Ian Nairn
Ian Nairn, Britain's Changing Towns, British Broadcasting Corporation, London 1967.
Ian Nairn, Nairn's Paris, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth 1968.
Ian Nairn (1930-83) is perhaps the greatest lay observor of architecture and urbanism ever. His writing is idiosyncratic, pithy and unafraid. In 1955 he made his name with ‘Outrage’ a special issue of the Architectural Review, later published as a book in 1959, in which he coined the term subtopia. Most of his views are still relevant.
He was the scourge of uglification, the fake, the gratuitous and unnecessary, prettification, the genteel and the prissy, regimentation, the this-is-good-for-you designers and planners, and for grand visions that disregarded the people they replaced. He respected the genius loci, uncelebrated local architects, building designs and townscapes that expressed themselves with something to say, and the friendly, small-scale unpremeditated and informal.1
His potential influence on Robin Boyd, who’s The Australian Ugliness was published 5 years after Outrage is rarely mentioned.
His other published works include:
Ian Nairn, Britain’s Changing Towns, British Broadcasting Corporation, London 1967. [Held].
Ian Nairn, Nairn’s Paris, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth 1968. [Held].
Ian Nairn, ‘Outrage: On the Disfigurement of Town and Countryside,’ Architectural Review Special Number, June 1955.
Ian Nairn, OUTRAGE, The Architectural Press, Westminster 1955, current selling price: $50-$1,500. [Held].
Ian Nairn, Counter Attack Against Subtopia, 1957. [Held].
Nikolaus Pevsner, and Ian Nairn, Surrey. The Buildings of England Penguin, Harmondsworth (1962). [Held].
Nikolaus Pevsner, and Ian Nairn, Sussex. The Buildings of England, Penguin, Harmondsworth (1965) 1973. [Held].
Ian Nairn, Nairn's Paris, Penguin, Harmondsworth 1968. [Held].
And many perioodical articles by Nairn, including for the Sunday papers, The Listener until 1963, the Architectural Review from 1955-80, and vivid unscripted programmes for BBC Television, none of which have been released since on DVD.
David McKie and Gillian Darley, Ian Nairn. Words in Place, Five Leaves Publications, 2013.
London + Built and Natural Environment
53. The London Nobody Knows, text and drawings
Hutchinson (1962), Penguin
Author: Geoffrey Fletcher
My copy, bought in May 1974, is heavily, but very neatly annotated in 0.2 Rapidograph, as I visited every building mentioned in it. Fletcher was my introduction to non-Pevsnerian London (qv, Pevsner).
Fletcher (1923-2004) was an artist and author of illustrations of London, recording details and parts not often documented. He won a scholarship to study at the British School at Rome.
His work appeared in UK newspapers, beginning with the Manchester Guardian in 1950. He was a keen advocate for conservation and his newspaper illustrations frequently highlighted buildings to be demolished in London's post-war redevelopment. He was particularly attracted to documenting Islington.
His first book was Town's Eye View (1960), an introduction to townscape. He wrote and illustrated 18 books about London and his most well known, The London Nobody Knows (1962), was made into a documentary film in 1967.
I own one book previously owned by Fletcher, and inscribed with his exquisite calligraphic hand.
Geoffrey Fletcher, text and drawings, City Sights, Hutchinson & Co, London 1963.
Geoffrey Fletcher, text and drawings, London Overlooked, Hutchinson & Co, London 1964.
Geoffrey Fletcher, text and drawings, Pearly Kingdom, Hutchinson & Co, London 1965.
Geoffrey Fletcher, text and drawings, Sketching in Colour, George Allen & Unwin, London 1968.
Geoffrey Fletcher, text and drawings, Geoffrey Fletcher's London, Hutchinson & Co, London 1968; Penguin, Harmondsworth 1970.
Geoffrey Fletcher, text and drawings, The London Dickins Knew, Hutchinson & Co, London 1968.
Geoffrey Fletcher, text and drawings, London Souvenirs, George Allen & Unwin, London 1973.
Geoffrey Fletcher, text and drawings, Pocket Guide to Dickens' London 1978.(Paperback)
London + Built and Natural Environment
54. The Importance of Being Earnes
Collins, London (1948) 2003
Author: Oscar Wilde
Introduction: Oscar Wilde & Merlin Holland
Richard Ellman, Oscar Wilde, Hamish Hamilton, London 1987. This is perhaps the greatest of all the biographies I have read, and reformed my view of the tragedy and enduring influence of Oscar.1
Thomas Wright, Oscar's Books: A journey around the library of Oscar Wilde, Vintage, London (2008) 2009, paperback.
Oscar Wilde, Rupert Hart-Davis, editor, The Letters of Oscar Wilde, Rupert Hart-Davis Ltd, 1962 Oscar Wilde, Rupert Hart-Davis, editor, More Letters of Oscar Wilde, John Murray, London (1985) 1986 and Oscar Wilde, Merlin Holland and Rupert Hart-Davis, Editors, The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, 2000. And other books on Wilde.1
This play I have seen more often than any other, in perhaps 10 different productions, always with a remarkable cast.
London + Built and Natural Environment
55. The Making of the English Landscape
Author: W G Hoskins
And several other books by Hoskins.
This is the first history of how humans formed the land of England, and is beautifully written. Hoskins (1908-92), introduced to me by John, was a pioneering English local historian, particularly of landscape history. He demonstrated the profound impact of human activity on the evolution of English landscape, and has had lasting influence in local and landscape history and historical and environmental conservation.
56. Waiting for Godot
Faber and Faber
Author: Samuel Beckett
Evocative, affectionate, minimalist. I have seen it performed several times, always with an excellent cast.
And several other plays by Beckett, and about him.
57. No Man's Land
London 1975 (Playscript)
Author: Harold Pinter
The play, No Man's Land, premierred at the Old Vic, written in 1974 by Harold Printer (1930-2008) and first produced and published by the English National Theatre in 1975.
This was its original production for the National Theatre, and it transferred to Wyndham's Theatre in July 1975 until January 1976. Peter Hall directed, with the two great complementary actors John Gielgud as Spooner, and Ralph Richardson as Hirst, with Michael Kitchen as Foster and Terence Rigby as Briggs. It was one of the greatest nights of theatre I've experienced.
It is a great and enigmatic play written by Harold Pinter in 1974 and first produced at the Old Vic theatre in 1975, and later transferred to Wyndhams, where I saw it , with Sir John Gielgud as Spooner and Sir Ralph Richardson as Hirst (for whom the play may have been written), Michael Kitchen was Foster and Terence Rigby was Briggs, and it was directed by the NT's director, Peter Hall.
Hirst is an alcoholic upper-class litterateur who lives in a grand house presumed to be in Hampstead, with Foster and Briggs, respectively his purported amanuensis and man-servant (or apparent bodyguard), who may be lovers. Spooner, a 'failed, down-at-heel poet' whom Hirst has 'picked up in a Hampstead pub' (probably Jack Straw's Castle, which is also the title of a book of poems by Thom Gunn, qv) and invited home for a drink, stays the night; claiming to be a fellow poet, through a contest of at least partly fantastic reminiscences, he appears to have known Hirst at university and to have shared mutual male and female acquaintances and relationships. The four characters are named after cricket players. All four are finally marooned in a no-man's land 'which remains forever, icy and silent'.
Pinter's style has entered the English language as an adjective, 'Pinteresque', like Beckett's but nor as spare, of a kind of spatial writing of ambiguous menace, language, silences (which may involve torrents of language merely to fill space), pauses and situations, although Pinter himself thought the term meaningless.1
1. J B, Sykes, Ed., The Concise Oxford Dictionary, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, Oxford (1911) 1979, p 739.
58. Homes Sweet Homes
London (1939) 1948
Author: Osbert Lancaster
And several other books by Lancaster.
Osbert Lancaster, Classical Landscape with Figures, John Murray, London 1947.
Osbert Lancaster, Sailing to Byzantium: an architectural companion, John Murray, London, 1969.
59. The Good Beer Guide
Editor: John Hanscomb
This is the guide to my English drinking. Campaign for Real Ale, supported by several beer-loving MPs was hugely successful in supporting cask-conditioned real ales. It still published the Guide, but has been nowc been swamped by pub closures and comercialisation.
60. Country Walks
Books 1-4, Third series, 1936-1966, 1977/78 and 1978
These little books describe rural walks around London, accessible from the Tube, over-ground rail, or (then) Green Line coach. I followed many of them, recorded each in a sequence of photographs, and I have continued to do one on every return visit to London.
61. A Cristmas Cracker
Author: John Julius Norwich
Lord Norwich (b 1929-) is an English historian of the Mediterranean, travel writer, television identity and longtime chair of the Venice in Peril Fund. His inimitable little commonplace book, self-published each year at Christmas since 1970, once available only at the Hayward Hill and John Sandoe bookshops, is now a cult. I have them all, except two.
62. A Pattern Language. Towns, Buildings, Construction
New York (1977) 1981
Author: Christopher Alexander, et al.
A fascinating step by step, board-game approach to the design of places, from whole towns down to construction details, in the form of a generative grammar of the built environment. It is not theoretical, but based on observation of people’s own needs and ways of behaving. It is a major work developed by Alexander (b 1936), architect and academic, and his colleagues at the Centre for Environmental Structure, who is one of the most influential sources of ideas in design in the second half of this century. If it is too demanding, try his Community and Privacy first. Also: www.patternlanguage.com
63. Architecture without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-pedigreed Architecture
London (1964) 1973
Author: Bernard Rudolfsky
The book of the exhibition, which was one of the first I saw in London, in the Hayward Gallery in 1974. It was enormously influentiual on Modernist architects. At the exhibition, I took notes written on my copy, including little detail sketches. At RMIT, I used it as a text to teach History and Design from.
Rudolfsky (1905-88), born in Suchdol nad Odrou, Moravia, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, worked designing houses in Sao Paolo, then settled in New York, was a Modernist, thinker, domestic Architect, exhibition designer, academic, and author. Other than vernacular architecture, his interests ranged from Japanese toilets to sandal design.
His written work forms a sustained argument for humane and sensible design, including historical and cultural alternatives to the design problems of everyday life: dining, sleeping, sitting, cleansing, and bathing. ‘Architectural History, as written and taught in the Western World, has never been concerned with more than a few select cultures,’ he observed. He noted that the standard Northern toilet is effectively a septic humidifier, and why baths are impossible for adults to lie down in and are permanently fixed near to a septic humidifier.
Bernard Rudolfsky, Are Clothes Modern?, 1947.
Bernard Rudolfsky, Behind the Picture Window, 1955.
Bernard Rudolfsky, Japan: Book Design Yesterday, 1962.
Bernard Rudolfsky, The Kimono Mind: An Informal Guide to Japan and the JapaneseCharles E. Tuttle, 1965.
Bernard Rudolfsky, Streets for People: A Primer for Americans, 1969.
Bernard Rudolfsky, The Unfashionable Human Body, 1971.
Bernard Rudolfsky, The Prodigious Builders: Notes Toward a Natural History of Architecture with Special Regard to those Species that are Traditionally Neglected or Downright Ignored, 1977.
Bernard Rudolfsky, Now I Lay Me Down to Eat: Notes and Footnotes on the Lost Art of Living, 1980.
Andrea Bocco, Bernard Rudofsky: A Humane Designer Guarneri, Springer-Verlag, Wien 2003, ISBN 3-211-83719-1.
Monika Platzer, Lessons from Bernard Rudofsky: Life As A Voyage, Birkhauser Verlag AG, Basel, Switzerland 2007, ISBN 978-3-7643-8360-2.
64. The Survey of London
The comprehensive architectural survey of the former County of London, founded in 1894 by C R Ashbee (1863-1942), the gay Arts-and-Crafts architect and male community founder, and the first volume was published in 1900. It is now published by Yale University Press, for English Heritage. Each volume gives an account of the area, with sufficient general history to put the architecture in context, and then describes significant streets and buildings, exhaustively, reviewing all primary sources in detail. The Survey devotes thousands of words to some buildings, but the earlier volumes ignored buildings built after 1800. 47 volumes have been published; most cover a parish, with 18 monographs on individual buildings. John gave me my first, Volume 10: Queen Anne's Gate, Westminster, 1926, of the district around my workplace at 21 Old Queen Street, SW1, in his first present to me in 1975. I now have 12 of them. There is nothing similar in any other country.
65. Pevsner Architectural Guides (formerly: The Buildings of England, 1951-74)
85 volumes (particularly the six London volumes)
There are now Buildings of England (50), Buildings of Scotland, Buildings of Wales (7), Buildings of Ireland and Pevsner City Guides. Of the 85, I have 52 volumes, including 3 now superceded. He wrote and edited 46 of them from 1951-74.
They are not only indispensible architectural companions when travelling in the UK, but the exemplar of their style has influenced much of my and others’ architectural writing, since I do not know of another guide as to how to describe a building. They have several quirks, but soon became the ‘official’ view of UK architecture, inevitably from the view of the evolutionist Modernism Pevsner first articulated in his Pioneers of Modern Design, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth 1960.
After Pevsner, this view was much broadened in a Post-modern way, but the approach is unchanged. It could be said that my approach to historic buildings is Pevsnerian. Every trip to London I have selected a building complex and spent a day folling the Pevsner to explore it. Most weeks I refer to some book from this series.
I bought my first two, Nikolaus Pevsner and Bridget Cherry, London 1. The Cities of London and Westminster. Penguin, Harmondsworth (1957) 1973 and then Nikolaus Pevsner, London 2. London except the Cities of London and Westminster, Penguin, Harmondsworth (1957) 1973, in London in 1974.
Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-83), was a German-born British history of art historian, especially, architectural history He studied at the universities of Munich with Heinrich Wölfflin, and Berlin before returning to Leipzig to write his dissertation in 1924 under the magnetic, but Nazi Wilhelm Pinder. He started writing for the Architectural Review, under James Richards, including as acting editor.
In 1940, the founder of Penguin Books, Allen Lane (1902-1970), began the long association between Pevsner and Penguin. As well as the Buildings of England series, he was editor of the King Penguin series, the Pelican History of Art series (1953-) of which the Art and Architecture in France, 1500-1700 is by Anthony Blunt (1973), Early Christian Art is by Richard Krautheimer (1965) and the Architecture in Britain, 1530-1830 is by John Summerson (1969).
He retired from Birbeck in 1967, was succeeded by Peter Murray, taught as the Slade Professor of art at Oxford, 1968-69 and at the Courtauld Institute. His students included Reyner Banham. In 1958, he co-chaired the new Victorian Society. He had a cool relationship with the Jewish Ernst Gombrich and Rudolf Wittkower, because he had dedicated a work to Pinder. Pevsner's work owes much to Pinder and his espousal of Nazi policies and dogmatic writing remains a problem for his reputation.
His use in his Outline of European Architecture of the Zeitgeist concept, the characterizing of Spain as a "restless country" or Germany as possessing a more authentic architecture (compared to Italy), is derived from Pinder's use of nationalizing of artistic intent.
He was criticized for attributing too much in architecture to his adopted England, particularly the effect of the Arts-and-Crafts movement and he wanted to found a British Bauhaus.1
And numerous other books and series by, or edited by Pevsner, including:
Susie Harries, Nikolaus Pevsner: the Life, Chatto & Windus, London 2011.
Stephen Games, Pevsner – The Early Life: Germany and Art, Continuum, London 2010. Pevsner biography, Volume 1.
Nikolaus Pevsner, Pioneers of Modern Design (originally Pioneers of the Modern Movement, 1936; 2nd edition, Museum of Modern Art, New York 1949; revised and partly rewritten, Penguin Books, 1960.
Nikolaus Pevsner, Outline of European Architecture, Penguin, Harmondsworth 1943.
Nikolaus Pevsner, The Englishness of English Art (1956, print edition)
Nikolaus Pevsner, The Sources of Modern Architecture and Design (1968)
John Fleming, Hugh Honour and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Penguin, Harmondsworth (1966) 1998.
Nikolaus Pevsner, A History of Building Types (1976)
Nikolaus Pevsner, Editor, King Penguin series.
Nikolaus Pevsner, Editor, Pelican History of Art series (1953-).2
66. The Blue Guides
Particularly of Rome, Florence, Venice, London, England and John Feely's Istanbul.
Right: 1918 ed.
These are crucial, the best guidebooks, mainly of history, art and architecture, with little on hotels, entertainment social life or shopping. They respond to emailed questions, but are rather Eurocentric.1
67. The Michelin Green Guides
My Paris Green Guide and Paris Index et Plan, 1973, first published in the very year I first went to Paris, which I have very heavily annotated, locating buildings and sites.
68. The Companion Guides
particularly: Rome (see below), Paris and Istanbul
Georgina Masson’s Rome was the basis of my first systematic and explorative walks there in January 1982 and I walked the entire book.
Marion (Babs) Johnson (1912-1980), was born in Rawalpindi (now Pakistan), daughter of an officer in the Indian Army, she lived in North Africa, Malaysia, Congo and Paris, and arrived in Rome at the end of World War II, living in stables at the Villa Doria Pamphili, and became correspondent for the Architectural Review. She wrote historical studies and biographies on Renaissance courtesans and Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Queen Christina of Sweden and the Borgia family.
69. AZ Atlas of Central London
Geographers' AZ Map Company Ltd
I still use the copies of these I bought in 1973, both so densely annotated with tiny Rapidographed lettering, locating buildings and sites, but alongsie more current versions. The AZ’s ugly, primitive and unhelpful style has never chaged, although the maps are now in colour, light years behind the estimable Melway, but for London, there is still nothing better.
70. The Pattern of English Building
Alec Clifton Taylor
Alec Clifton Taylor, Written & Presented, Six English Towns, BBC Television, London 1978.
Alec Clifton Taylor, Written & Presented, Six MoreEnglish Towns, BBC Television, London 1981.
Alec Clifton Taylor, Written & Presented, Another Six English Towns, BBC Television, London 1984.
Ronald Brunskill and Alec Clifton-Taylor, English brickwork, Ward Lock, London 1977.
And several others by Taylor (1907-85) English architectural historian, writer and TV broadcaster, who was the UK’s Miles Lewis, but far more congenial, erudite on the history and geography of building materials, which he publicly displayed in his wonderful three television series on British Towns, which I also hold.
71. Illustrated Handbook of Vernacular Architecture
(1971) 1978 Paperback
R W Brunskill
Brunskill () was an academic who was Reader in Architecture at the University of Manchester. He is an authority on the history of architecture and particularly on British vernacular architecture. The careful expert on English vernacular building. And several more specialised others by Brunskill, including:
R W Brunskill, Brick and Clay Building in Britain. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1990 . ISBN 0-300-11687-X.
R W Brunskill, English Brickwork. London: Ward Lock & Co, London 1978 .
R W Brunskill, Houses, London: HarperCollins. 1982. ISBN 0-00-216243-1.
R W Brunskill, Houses and Cottages of Britain: Origins and Development of Traditional Buildings. Vernacular Buildings Series. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. 2006. ISBN 0-575-07122-2.
R W Brunskill, Timber Building in Britain. London: Cassell's Reference. 2006 . ISBN 0-304-36665-X.
R W Brunskill, Traditional Buildings of Britain: An Introduction to Vernacular Architecture. London: Cassell's. 2006 . ISBN 0-304-36676-5.
R W Brunskill, Traditional Farm Buildings and Their Conservation. Vernacular Buildings. New Haven: Yale University Press. 2007. ISBN 0-300-12319-1.
R W Brunskill, Traditional Farm Buildings of Britain. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. 1999 . ISBN 0-575-06634-2.
R W Brunskill, Traditional Buildings of Cumbria: The country of the Lakes. London: Cassell's Reference. 2002.
Vernacular Architecture of the Lake Counties: A Field Handbook. London: Faber and Faber. 1978 .
72. The Local
Cassell & Co
Text: Maurice Gorham
Lithographs: Edward Ardizzone
I encountered Ardizzone (1900-79) English artist, writer and illustrator, mainly of children's books, first through this charming book, introduced to me by that prodigious pubologist Ken Hunter. Ardizzone’s unpretentious style with its plump convivially postured activated figures in cosy interiors seemed to encapsulate an aspect of post-war London I encountered in 1973.
He particularly depicted the great fruity baroque gin palaces the Warrington Hotel, the Crown, the Hero (Maida Vale?), the Prince Alfred (Warwick Road & Formosa Street), the Warwick Castle (Warwick Avenue & Warwick Place, Paddington W9, described by Ian Nairn (qv), the George (?), King’s Wine House (?), the Lord High Admiral (Vauxhall Bridge Road, demolished), the Goat (Stafford Street, off Old Bond Street), the Spread Eagle (Oxford Street, ruined) and the Red Lion (Barnes). Also; The Green Man (?), and the Angel (Rotherhithe),
Also: Edward Ardizzone and Maurice Gorham, Back to the Local, Percival Marshall & Company Limited, London 1949 which has a glossary and a list of approved pubs, and many other books illustrated by Edward Ardizzone.
Eagle (Oxford Street, ruined) and the Red Lion (Barnes). Also; The Green Man (?) and the Angel (Rotherhithe). Patrick Hamilton’s semi-autobiographical 20,000 Streets Under The Sky (The Midnight Bell (1929), The Siege of Pleasure (1932) and The Plains of Cement (1934)) and his Gorse trilogy (The West Pier (1952), Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse (1953) and Unknown Assailant (1955)). Not yet read by me, they offer vivid accounts of life in London pubs. As he struggled to contain his alcoholism, the author – responsible for such masterpieces as Hangover Square and the play Rope, which Alfred Hitchcock made into a film – drew on the hours he spent propping up a bar for his stories. It feels very much as if Ardizzone’s work is offering a graphic version of Hamilton’s descriptions of life in a London boozer in the 1930s. As Ardizzone’s biographer Malcolm Yorke puts it: ‘Though both men were under 40 there is already an old-codgery nostalgia about the book. They moan that too may of their refuges from home life are being tarted up by developers (‘all grained oak and linoleum’) while slot machines and newly fashionable darts attract the young with their ‘penetrating voices and scarlet finger nails.’1
1. Review on its reissue in 2011, by Dan Carrier, Islington Tribune, 7 April 2011.
73. Thank You, Fog: Last Poems
Faber & Faber
W H Auden
(Dedicated to Michael and Marny Yates.)
Right: Peter Corrigan, nominee for Best Auden lookalike.
Right: Sir John Gielgud as Spooner playing opposite Sir Ralph Richardson as Hirst, in Harold Pinter's play No Man's Land, 1975, a character said to be derived from Auden.
Wystan Auden (1907-73) and Christopher Isherwood (1904-86), are so much my heroes that I named my house Wystish from their combined names.
The first I particularly noticed Auden was at his death when I reached Amsterdam on 30 September 2012, announced as a headline in the second copy of The Times that I had ever bought. I now (December 2012) own about a hundred books by or about Auden. Thankyou Fog, a collection of simple short poems, his last, was published posthumously and was probably the first book of his works I bought, but they still move me.
Auden was a politically committed public intellectual and tecnically brilliant poet, who refurbished the language, who led a group of writers 30 years older than us, who so influenced my generation, was Post-modern (ambiguous, complex and contradictory), avoided usefulness, and linked science, the physical environment, idealism, the moral being, formal religion, psychology and sex. He embraced New York, Oxford and Europe in poetry, opera libretti, essays and lectures. He and Isherwood are still rebuked for their departure for USA on 19 January 1939, prior to declaration of World War II, on 3 September 1939.
His poems are full of things. Yet when homosexuality was a crime he could not speak frankly of love. For that, he was forced from the concrete to the abstract as in tiny ways we all were, and so moved from the easy (for him) to the difficult.
His expression is freighted with insights. He found the structure of his thought in the anti-idealism and individual subjectivity of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55, who also absorbed mew and whose house I visited in Copenhagen in 1973), yet he clothed his ascetic thought in palpable desire and sensuality. I failed to share his and Isherwood’s belief in their differing Gods, but I remained fascinated by their spiritual journeys, of which Isherwood’s was the harder won.
He was appointed to the prized position of Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1956 - 61 (which later Clive James craved). In 1972, he moved his winter home back from New York to Oxford, where his old college, Christ Church, offered him a cottage. He announced he would be seated at a particular café every day and be available to students as a clinic. But these were the days of revolution against authority figures like professors, and sadly no-one came. His conversation became repetitive, to the disappointment of friends who had known him earlier as a witty and wide-ranging conversationalist. He increasingly revealed a deepening admission of vulnerability, of a fateful strangeness, of empty campy tragic sadness, retreating into ritualistic sordid habit and encrusted with the dirt of years.1
1. Clive James, ‘On his Death,’ Commentary, October 1973 and Wikipedia, ‘Bibliography of W H Auden.’
74. A Single Man
Methuen & Co Ltd
The film, directed by Tom Ford, stars Colin Firth(2009)
Author: Christopher Isherwood
Christopher Isherwood, Kathleen and Frank, Methuen & Co Ltd, London, 1971.
Christopher Isherwood, Christopher and His Kind. 1929-1939, Eyre Methuen, London 1976.
Christopher Isherwood, My Guru and His Disciple, Methuen & Co Ltd, London 1980.
Don Bachardy, drawings and text, John Russell and Stephen Spender, texts, Christopher Isherwood. Last Drawings, Faber & Faber Limited, London & Boston 1990.
Chris and Don. A Love Story. (Film).
Isherwood, Christopher, Katherine Bucknell, edited and introduced, preface by Edmund White, Liberation: Diaries, Volume Three: 1970-1983, Chatto & Windus, London 2012.
Christopher Isherwood (1904-86) and Wystan Auden (1907-73) are so much my heroes that I named my house Wystish from their combined names.
I first encountered Isherwood throught the film Cabaret in 1972, leading to my reading of Goodbye to Berlin and then A Single Man in London when it was published in 1976. By 1973, I had already read James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room () and Gore Vidal (qv) and Susan Sontag, ‘Notes on Camp’ (1966).
He and Auden are still rebuked for their departure for USA on 19 January 1939, prior to declaration of World War II, on 3 September 1939. In Isherwood, I admire his clear-eyed recording of his experience of his world, his honesty even in recording his own flaws, I admire his courage, his writing about homosexuality, his principled life-decisions, his pacifism, his early self-outing, his pioneering gay and minorities activism, his mentoring, and his designing and curation of his life, that has been lived in joy in his great love relationship with Don Bachardy, in that it is impossible to speak of Chris and of Don, but rather of Chris and Don, continuing beyond his death in Don’s curation of his estate, of an order that Auden had failed to achieve.
I also admire his constant spiritual life, although it would be quite beyond me. I have visited the surviving places associated with him in Berlin: his apartment block, bars and the music hall.
And many other books by and on Isherwood.
Fiction + Gay
75. Peregrine Prykke's Pilgrimage Through the London Literary World: A Tragedy in Heroic Couplets
Author: Clive James
Clive James, At the Pillars of Hercules.
And other books of his poetry and criticism, and his website, by James.
James (b 1939-), with Thom Gunn, who is one of the few contemporary poets (James Merrill another) to write serious poetry in heroic couplets — a form whose use in the twentieth century is generally restricted to light verse and epigrammatic wit, which this is.
76. David Hockney by David Hockney. My Early Years
Thames & Hudson
Editor: Nikos Stangos
Introductory Essay: Henry Geldzahler
And other books and catalogues of Hockney’s work.
David Hockney (b 1937-) English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer photographer, based in Bridlington, Yorkshire, and Kensington, but maintains two houses in Los Angeles, in Nicholas Canyon, and an office and archives on Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, in the city where he lived for more than 30 years.
As always, the openly gay Hockney depicted what most interested him: his interesting and beautiful friends their relationships, and their environments (Isherwood and Bachardy, Nick Wilder, Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell, Henry Geldzahler, intriguingly for me, his parents, and mostly Peter Schlesinger), fascinatingly documented in the film A Bigger Spash, as Nan Goldin and William Yang later did.
When Manny and I bumped into David and Peter on Lindos in 1975, it seemed an epiphany. I also enjoyed his rare use of colour. I enjoyed also the work of others in his RCA circle, including RB Kitaj and Patrick Procktor This book encapsulates that early fascination.
Carlton and Rome: 1979-82
77. Melway Street Directory 1978, Edition 11 - 2013, Edition 40
Melbourne’s clear, comprehensive, detailed Street Directory, created by someone that has actually been to the area. Edition 1 was 1966. The best street map in the world, it is hard to visualise Melbourne without it.
Melbourne + Built and Natural Environment
78. A Dance to the Music of Time
12 volumes, 1951-75
Author: Anthony Powell
Powell (1905-2000) was an English novelist.
I read these with their covers by Marc, when I returned to Melbourne, to re-evoke London life, but became engrossed, and when it wa formed, joined the Anthony Powell Society. I am intrigued by the idea of 12 novels arising from the great picture Poussin’s A Dance to the Music of Time (1634-36) in the Wallace Collection, London, just as does Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sunday in the Park with George. It became a parlour game to guess who, in one’s life, is one’s Widmerpool: the most embarrassing, yet successfully tide-riding, constantly reinvented, bumbler.
It offers reflection of 50 years of the social history of my lifetime until the turbulence of the 1960s. There is nothing quite like it in English letters. It is comparable to Proust and to Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities, which while different in style, content and preoccupation (Proust’s ambivalent sexuality, Musil's Kakania), are analogous in terms of scale and ambition. Their covers were initially designed by Sir Misha Black and in paperback, by the cartoonist Marc Boxer. I confess I am a member of The Anthony Powell Society.1
And several other books by and about Powell, including:
Anthony Powell, A Question of Upbringing, 1951.
Anthony Powell, A Buyer's Market, 1952, dedicated to Osbert Lancaster (qv, above, c54) and his first wife Karen.
Anthony Powell, The Acceptance World, 1955.
Anthony Powell, At Lady Molly's 1957.
Anthony Powell, Casanova's Chinese Restaurant, 1960.
Anthony Powell, The Kindly Ones, 1962.
Anthony Powell, The Valley of Bones, 1964.
Anthony Powell, The Soldier's Art, 1966.
Anthony Powell, The Military Philosophers, 1968.
Books Do Furnish a Room, 1971,
dedicated to Rupert Hart-Davis (qv, below, c94).
Temporary Kings, 1973.
Hearing Secret Harmonies, 1975.
79. The Streets of Paris
Author: Richard Cobb
Photographer: Nicholas Breach
The eccentric Oxford don, Cobb (1907-2006) historian of France, best evokes C18-20 French history and the physical remnants of the past in remnant Paris, often since demolished. With Geoff, I have walked and photographed most of the walks in The Streets of Paris.
And several other books by Cobb.
Paris + Built and Natural Environment
80. The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change
Art/History + Built and Natural Environment
Author: Robert Hughes
The book of the television series. Hughes (1938- 2012) was an Australian-born art critic, writer and maker of successful television documentaries.
81. Guide to Baroque Rome
Granada, Frogmore, St Albans,
Author: Anthony Blunt
The knowledge that the tragic figure of Professor Sir Anthony Blunt (1907-83), a third cousin of the Queen Mother, Surveyor of the King’s (later Queen’s) Pictures and Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, had been identified as The Fourth Man, spying for the USSR on UK, and the long-term acolyte, if not lover (which he denies) of the charming lugubrious alcoholic Guy Burgess, who was the third man (both were members of the Cambridge Apostles), made no difference at all to my admiration for his rigourous, lucid, fully and helpfully documented writing on Poussin, and on Baroque Rome, Naples and Sicily.
Notable students of Blunt include Brian Sewell (art critic for the Evening Standard), Sir Oliver Millar (his successor at the Royal Collection), Nicholas Serota (former director of TATE), Neil Macgregor (former editor of the Burlington magazine, former director of the National Gallery and the current director of the British Museum, John White (art historian), Sir Alan Bowness (former director of TATE), John Golding (who wrote the first book on Cubism), Reyner Banham (qv, above c44), John Shearman (expert on Mannerism and former Chair of Art History at Harvard ), Melvin Day (former Director of National Art Gallery of New Zealand ), Christopher Newall (expert on the Pre-Raphaelites), Michael Jaffé (expert on Rubens), Michael Mahoney (former Curator of European Paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and former Chair of Art History at Trinity College, Hartford) and Anita Brookner (art historian and novelist).
It is typical of Blunt that Guide to Baroque Rome contains surprises (eg: that the Palazzo Spada in Piazza Capodiferro’s false perspective (1653) is not by Borromini, but by an Augustinian priest, Giovanni Maria Bitonto who has done another miniature one previously for the Spada in Bologna in 1647, derived from a temporary one made by Borromini for a celebration), is scrupulously researched, contains few wasted words, and has extremely useful, and not merely academic, bibliographic notes at the head of each entry.
His experience was recorded in three Alan Bennet (1934-) plays: The Old Country, 1977; An Englishman Abroad, 1983; and A Question of Attribution, 1991, doubtless Bennett, and surely even secretly H M Queen, agree with me.
After Margaret Thatcher announced Blunt's espionage, he continued his art historical work by writing and publishing his Guide to Baroque Rome.
And several others, including:
Anthony Blunt, François Mansart and the Origins of French Classical Architecture, 1941.
Anthony Blunt, Art and Architecture in France, 1500–1700, Pelican History of Art, Harmondsworth 1953.
Anthony Blunt, Nicolas Poussin. A Critical Catalogue, Phaidon, London 1966.
Anthony Blunt, photographs: Tim Benton, Sicilian Baroque, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1968. [Value: $200, 31 January 2013]. Refer: The Leopard.
Anthony Blunt, Neapolitan Baroque and Rococo Architecture, London 1975.
Anthony Blunt, Baroque and Rococo Architecture and Decoration, London 1978.
Anthony Blunt, Borromini, London 1979.
And others by Blunt.
82. Roma Barocca. The History of an Architectonic Culture
Cambridge Mass & London, 1970
Author: Paolo Portoghesi
Translated: Barbara Luigia La Penta
Paolo Portoghesi, Rome of the Renaissance, Phaidon, London 1972.
Paolo Portoghesi, The Rome of Borromini: Architecture as Language, G Braziller, New York 1968.
Portoghesi (b 1931-)1 is a remarkable and innovative polymath: early Post-modern architect, eg: of the Rome Mosque (or Centro Islamico con Moschea, 1974-93, designer (I have always regretted not buying a silver candelabra he designed, I once saw in the Conran Store, London), post-modern theorist, journalist (an article every Friday in La Republica newspaper that I read weekly when I was in Rome, 1982), and architectural historian, eg: of the above two wonderful books of photographs and drawings and of Borromini.
The second I bought as a treat from the Italian Bookshop, Drummond Street when I survived my trial for Drunk and Disorderly in A Public Place, the second I could never find so photocopied the it entire, but later acquired it on mail order.
Architectural historian and Borromini scholar, Portoghesi described himself as having been born ‘in the shadow of Borromini's San Ivo [in Sapienza, Rome]’ so much of his professional life as an architectural historian revolved around this architect. Portoghesi graduated in architecture in 1957 and in the history of art in 1958. In 1959 he was appointed Professor at the school of advanced studies in the study and restoration of monuments. As an architect, Portoghesi designed in a neo-Baroque style, first in 1959 in the Casa Baldi, Via Flaminia, Rome. 1966 as well. The following year Portoghesi published his important Borromini, Architettura come linguaggio which was translated in English as The Rome of Borromini: Architecture as Language.
In 1968 he became dean of the Faculty of Architecture of Milan Polytechnic, issuing L'Eclettismo a Roma (or Eclecticism in Rome) and editor-in-chief of the Dizionario di Architettura e Urbanistica (or DAU). Another important architectural commission with Gigliotti, Casa Papanice, was completed 1969-70. In 1976, Portoghesi's most outstanding commission, the mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre in Rome was dedicated. He was appointed professor of architecture at the University of Milan the same year, where he taught until 1980.
He next headed the architecture section at the Venice Biennial in 1980. That year, he accepted a professorship in architectural history at La Sapienza (refer: above), University of Rome and published Dopo l'architettura moderna (or After modern architecture). In 1982 he became Professor of History of Architecture at Rome University, and editor-in-chief of Materia magazine in 1990 and professor of Urban Planning at the University of Rome in 1995.
A 1974 manifesto, Le inibizioni dell'architettura moderna outlined his practicing architectural theory as a ‘system of places.’ With Zevi, he promoted modernists who, in their architecture, related their work to its environment, eg: Victor Horta and Frank Lloyd Wright. He was a founder of the first international exhibition of Post-modernist architecture, at the Venice Biennale, 1980. He designs the furnishings of his buildings. He engaged in a celebrated debate supported by Zevi, in countering the criticisms of Manfredo Tafuri on the purposes of architectural history.
And several others by Portoghesi.
Rome + Built and Natural Environment
83. Roma Ancora, Editoria - Trento 1981
Rome + Built and Natural Environment
Author: Giancarlo Gasponi
Text: Livio Jannattoni
Presentation: Enzo Siciliano
This beautiful photo essay that best summates my magical year living in Rome in 1982, arguably the best year of my life, and that cosolidated my relation with Rome as the city that means the most to me..
84. Il Centro Storico di Ferrara. A Cura di Pier Luigi Cervellati
Ricardo Franco Levi Editore
Authors: C Cesari, M Pastore and R Scannavini
These two books, one on the conservation of the historic urban fabric of Bologna, the other similiarly on Ferrara, summarise the extroadinary week we spent with their authors, and with urban planners and consultants in Ferrara (which Geoff and I revisited in 1994), and a later visit to Bologna, culminating the ICCROM course, in 1982.
Bologna was an Italian communist social laboratory, including for urban conservation theory in the early 1970s, and this approach developed with more precision and sublty in Ferrara, derived from a detailed morphological and typological analysis of urban plans, elevations and sections of whole blocks, not yet ever attempted in Australia.
Among the great Italian cities Ferrara did not have a plan derived from a Roman layout and did not develop from a central area, but rather on a linear axis along the riverbank. Ferrara, seat of the Este family has some of the earliest Renaissance planning in its extensions from its C8-9 and C14 medieval core: the first in 1386, then in 1450 and 1492. The humanist concept of the ideal city came to life here in the districts built from 1492 onwards by Biagio Rossetti according to the new principles of perspective. The completion of this project marked the birth of modern town planning and influenced subsequent development.
For me it is a favourite town, a prosperous agricutural centre on the River Po Delta, reminiscent of Camperdown, or Hamilton. its Renaissance streets and its palazzos decorated by Piero della Francesca, Jacopo Bellini and Andrea Mantegna, its private walled gardens, its cathedral, castle and other monuments, its many museums, and its remarkable school of Mannerist painters, initially Cosme Tura (1430-95), whose style was developed by Francesco del Cossa and Ercole de' Roberti, with their distended forms and acid colours.1
Pier Luigi Cervellati, Roberto Scannavini and Carlo de Angelis, La Nuova Cultura delle Citta’. La Salvaguardia dei centri storici, la rippropriazione sociale degli organismi urbani e l’analisi dello sviluppo territoriale nell’esperienza di Bologna, Edizioni Scientifiche e Techniche Mondadori, Arnoldo Monadori editore SpA, Milano1977.
Italy Urban Design + Built and Natural Environment
85. A Guide to Venetian Domestic Architecture. Discovering the little-known Venice of the ‘Sestiere’ of Castello and Dosoduro
Venice (1948) 1982
Author: Egle Renata Trincanato
Editor: Renzo Salvadori
illustrated by 160 drawings of buildings from the 12th to the 18th century [Venezia Minore], Canal Books, Venice (1948) 1982.
This exquisite little book, after 64 years is not out of date, and is still unique, because it precisely locates by address, describes, offers a history, analyses the significance and provides a sketch elevation and often a floor plan, of these 90 Venetian vernacular buildings that are not quite grand enough to make it to Deborah Howard’s, (qv) Architectural History of Venice. I have visited many of them. They are often in unknown parts of Castello and Dosoduro that tourists never visit.
A later edition with more recent buildings:
Antonio Salvadori, Architect's Guide to Venice, Butterworth Architecture Architects Guides, Butterworth, London 1990.
Antonio Salvadori, 101 Buildings to See in Paris, Canal Books, Venice 1972.
A later edition with more recent buildings:
Antonio Salvadori, Architect's Guide to Paris, Butterworth Architecture Architects Guides, Butterworth, London 1990.
Antonio Salvadori, 101 Buildings to See in London, Canal Books, Venice 1969.
Renzo Salvadori, Venice: guide to sculpture from the origins to the 20th century, Canal & Stamperia, Venice (1997) 1998.
86. The Piero della Francesca Trail
1. John Hope-Henessy, The Piero della Francesca Trail, including Aldous Huxley's essay on the Piero route 'The Best Picture' ISBN 1892145138. In c1950, the gay friends, Australian artists Donald Friend (1915-89) and Jeffrey Smart (b 1921) went on the Piero Route together. We did not go to Rimini to see: Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta Praying in Front of St. Sigismund (1451) Fresco, Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini, or the Polyptych of Perugia (c1470), oil on panel, 338 x 230 cm, Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia, both of which which I had seen already.
Thames & Hudson
Author: John Hope-Henessy
This evolved from and the book includes Aldous Huxley's (whose brother Sir Julian Lene stayed with in 1938), essay on the Piero route 'The Best Picture.' In c1950, the gay friends, Australian artists Donald Friend (1915-89) and Jeffrey Smart (b 1921) went on the Piero Route together.
John drove me on it in August 1982 in a very remarkable journey ooking at works by the Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca (c1415-92). We did not go to Rimini to see: >Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta Praying in Front of St. Sigismund (1451) fresco, Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini; or the Polyptych of Perugia (c1470), Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia, both of which which I had seen already. Now travel companies offet packaged tours of the route. We went across the Pennines from Arezzo to Urbino to see these pictures:
Arezzo, The History of the True Cross (c1455-66), frescoes, San Francesco.
Montercchi, Madonna del parto (1459-67), detached fresco, Cemetery Chapel, but now displayed in a museum).
Borgo Sansepolcro, Tuscany, Polyptych of the Misericordia (1445–1462) oil and tempera on panel, Pinacoteca Comunale and the Resurrection (c1463), fresco, Museo Civico.
Urbino, The Flagellation of Christ (c1460), tempera on panel, (then hung in the Ducal Palace); the paired portraits (c1472) of Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza, Duke and Duchess of Urbino; and the Madonna di Senigallia (c1474), oil on panel, , now all in Galleria Nazionale delle Marche.1
And several other books by Sir John Pope-Hennessy.
87. The Concise Oxford Dictionary
Oxford at the Clarendon Press
Oxford (1911) 1979
Editor: J B Sykes
My favourite edition of this dictionary since its publication in 1979. I admire the work of the New Zealand lexicographer John Bradbury Sykes (1929–1993)1 and his approach, in the tradition of the Fowlers, father and son, with a remarkable facility for languages, but with earlier training in astrophysics and mathematics, he was concerned to provide a practical tool rather than a prescriptive device.
I feel his influence shows inn the extensive inclusion and description of scientific terms. While concise, the dictionary offers etymologies, essential for understanding meanings, of each word, but is not cluttered by examples of usage. Occasionally the writing is witty.
88. Church Furnishings. A NADFAS Guide
1. NADFAS: National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (Great Britain).
Routledge & Kegan Paul
Henley & London, 19781
Authors: Patricia Dirsztay, Caroline Cook, Frances Curwen & Paul Vincent
I love its exquisite and usefully detailed freehand drawings of numerous arcane elements, despite its approach not being nearly rigorous enough for shamelessly snooty The Antiquaries Journal, March 1979, which points out errors including that obviously cockatrices rarely have webbed wings.
Architectural History + Built and Natural Environment
89. The Bathroom
Technical + Built and Natural Environment
Harmondsworth (1966) 1976
Author: Alexander Kira
Information unobtainable elsewhere to enable designing bathrooms that are functional, efficient, safe and convenient by understanding what really goes on in them. A lesson in design of tight and densely used spaces generally.
90. Setting the World on Fire
Secker & Warburg
Author: Angus Wilson
The conceit of a great house, miraculously surviving next to Westminster Abbey, Tothill House, begun by the sober architect Sir Roger Pratt (1620-85) and was completed by the less predictable virility of Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726) is symbolic of the characters in twin ancient families: the flamboyant Tothills, and the careful Mossons.
The irony is that there is actually a great house surviving within Westminster Abbey: Ashburnham House, on the W side of Little Dean’s Yard, formerly the prior’s lodgings has a c1390 shell, encased in red brick in c1662, but with very sophistcated C17 rooms including a very fine staircase, probably by John Webb (1611-72), now part of Westminster School.1
In the novel, Vanbrugh’s great hall has depicted on its ceilings and walls the headlong careering of Phaethon driving this father Helios’s chariot too close to the sun, ending in his ruin and combustion, and that in 1697 there was to be a performance in the great hall the opera Phaethon, by Louis XlV’s composer Lully, but that the performance had been cancelled because of the displeasure of William III.
Phaethon’s rashness is the emblem of one way of setting the world on fire. The art of Lully’s opera, of Verrio’s painting, of Vanbrugh’s hall, or even of Piers Mosson as impresario and director, can constitute another way. Then there is the shallower way of social réclame of which Piers is a victim-beneficiary.
1. Nikolaus Pevsner, and Simon Bradley, London 6: Westminster, The Buildings of England, Penguin Books, London 2003, pp 186 and 202-204.
Fantasy Places + Gay
91. The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World
Harper Collins Publishers
London 1995, 7th edition (Held. Currently: 13th edition, 2011)
Simply the best atlas with various mapping types and analyses, not superseded by Google Earth.
The Times Atlas of Religions.
The Times Atlas of the Christian Church.
The Times Atlas of Archaeology.
The Times Atlas of The Bible.
Travel + Built and Natural Environment
Ivanhoe and RMIT University: 1983-2007
92. The Man with Night Sweats
Faber & Faber
Author: Thom Gunn
And many others by Gunn, often in small editions.
This book, like the photographs of Willian Yang (qv), contains the first, and arguably (for me, at least) still the most moving, poetry to deal with the experience HIV-AIDS. Thom Gunn (1929-2004), of John’s generation, yet so different, was always openly gay, one of the diverse Movement poets who sought purity of diction, neutral tone, spare language and to see the world with fresh eyes.
He found his partner, Mike Kitay at Cambridge, and followed him to San Francisco where they lived together in the Haight Ashbury from 1960 for the rest of their lives, uniquely wrote about his gay experience, drug use, sex and the trade, leather and bike scenes. He (probably) frequented the Eagle Tavern in San Francisco, which opened a year after the Laird in 1981 and he certainly wet to the much earlier Why Not bar In Los Angeles, open from 1962, for those into leathers and bar life, which hosted a ‘boot party’ on Thursdays.
He did night prowls and picked up untilmthe very end of his life aged 75, and died horribly at home with a trade he’d taken back there, of acute polysubstance abuse, including of methamphetamine (meth, or ice).
Yet he was most scholarly in exploring and evolving traditional forms. Edmund White described him as ‘the last of the commune dwellers [...] serious and intellectual by day and druggy and sexual by night.’ While he continued to sharpen his use of metrical forms, he explored syllabics and free verse. ‘...possibly the only poet to have written a halfway decent quintain while on LSD, and ...certainly one of the few to profess genuine admiration for both [Yvor] Winters (the archformalist) and Ginsberg.’ In terza rima of Dante, he explored present anxiety:
It is despair that nothing cannot be
Flares in the mind and leaves a smoky mark
Look upward. Neither firm nor free
Purposeless matter hovers in the dark. (‘The Annihilation of Nothing’).
He praised his mentor at Stanford Yvor Winters for keeping:
both Rule and Energy in view,
Much power in each, most in the balanced two,
He found a productive tension, rather than imaginative restriction, in the technical demands of traditional poetic form.
As with Isherwood, UK critics disavowed him for having let the side down. ‘But my life, insists on continuities — between America and England, between free verse and metre, between vision and everyday consciousness.’ He published two collections of occasional essays, The Occasions of Poetrys (1982) and Shelf Life. (1993).
A new edition of his Selected Poems was published, edited by August Kleinzahler, another poet (b1949-) I enjoy who is often published in the LRB, who became a close friend, and on whom he was a major influence, and who also treats ‘...the honest treatment of the poetic material at hand, not slipping into rhetorical or poetic postures, inflating subject matter or dodging difficulty,’ as Kleinzahler explained in an interview in The Paris Review in 2007.
Thom’s younger brother, Ander Gunn, was a photographer in UK, at one time with Mass Observation. Their father, Herbert ‘Bert’ Gunn (1903-62) was a successful British newspaper editor. He wrote the headline ‘It's That Man Again,’ referring to Hitler, later the title of the popular BBC radio show, ITMA. Their mother committed suicide when Thom was 14, which continued to affect Thom. He never came to Australia.
Gunn’s bibliography is long, because he published many exquisite small editions of his poems, now highly collectable to the easily tempted, like me.
Poetry + Gay
93. The Eye of the Storm
Fiction + Gay
Author: Patrick White
White (1912-90) first hove into my purview when the Nobel Prize was publicized and I saw him on the cover of Time magazine. The article noted that White ‘lived alone’ assisted by a male housekeeper, or words to that effect. White was of course incensed and wrote to Time that Mr Manoly Lascaris is not my housekeeper, but my partner and in fact, I do most of the housework myself. I sat up and took notice.
I read and enjoyed both David Marr books (the biography and the letters, below) on White before I had read much White. David Marr was the former partner of John Lonie, Lene’s nephew, who was in Vienna with she and I, and with whom he had acrimoniously broken up.
White’s novels say for me something about what it is to live in this country, and latterly as a queer person. White and Lascaris’s relationship became another rare exemplar in the ways that gay couples might live. I have also seen theHam Funeral, The Season at Sarsaparilla and Signal Driver produced, the opera Voss, and the marvelous film The Eye of the Storm, the only of his novels to be filmed.
Karalis’s book on Lascaris is a gem, a view of the cocoon into which Lascaris has retreated since White’s death, buy an expert in Greek culture and language. It deserves a place of its own on this list.
Patrick White, Memoirs of Many in One, Jonathan Cape, Sydney 1986.
David Marr, Patrick White: A Life, Random House, Sydney, 1991.
David Marr, Patrick White: A Life, Random House, Sydney, 1991.
Vrasidas Karalis, Recollections of Mr Manoly Lascaris, Brandl Schlesinger, Sydney 2008. Paperback.
And others, including the plays by White.
94. Invisible Cities
Fantasy Place + Built and Natural Environment
Author: Italo Calvino
Calvino’s (1923-85) novel (Le città invisibili), of a magical journey, stuffed full of ideas for designers, to so many places pretending not to be Venice. Several peple have attempted to depict the cities, which rather defeats the point of the book, including Colleen Corradi Brannigan, below and at www.cittainvisibili.com
95. The House of Life
The Acadine Press
Author: Mario Praz
Translated by Angus Davidson
In 1934 Praz (1896-1982) Italian critic of art and literature, and scholar of English literature, as the doyen of English studies in Italy. He developed the concepts, writing and perception of interior design and interior decoration, which he presented in his The Romantic Agony (1933), then An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration from Pompeii to Art Nouveau, translated by William Weaver, Thames and Hudson (London) 1964.
He went to live at the Palazzo Ricci, via Giulia 146, and the book tells the story of how his apartment there filled with Empire style furniture and artifacts that he gradually acquired, often cheaply as they were so unfashionable then that the history of art considered to be art mineur, or at the most decorative art, and which he fastidiously displayed in an over-refined setting.
This book evocatively relates the stiries of how he came by each of the objects, unfashionable at that time, that decorate his apartment, initially from when he married (1934-). Praz continued to hold his chair at the University of Rome during the Fascist period, World War II and the German occupation. His interest in decorative arts, particularly furniture increased but led to his divorce from in 1947, she claiming, wryly, that he cared more about his furniture than her.
In 1969 Praz moved from the Ricci palace to the third floor of the Palazzo Primoli, near the Piazza Navona until he died. His Palazzo Primoli home was opened to the public in as a museum in 1995. The collection is now displayed at the Casa museo Mario Praz in the same building as the Museo Napeonica, Rome, which I have frustratingly failed to see.
And several others by Praz, including:
Mario Praz, The Romantic Agony, Oxford University Press, London 1933.
Mario Praz, An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration, from Pompeii to Art Nouveau, Thames and Hudson, London 1964.
Mario Praz, Conversation Pieces: a Survey of the Informal Group Portrait in Europe and America, Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA 1971.
Mario Praz, On Neoclassicism, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL 1969.
Mario Praz, L'opera completa del Canova, Rizzoli, Milan 1976. (Not held).1
Fantasy Place + Built and Natural Environment
96. The Lyttleton - Hart-Davis Letters
Author: George Lyttleton and Rupert Hart-Davis
Edited and Introduction by Rupert Hart-Davis
John introduced me to Rupert (1907-99, literary and general publisher, and man of letters. He compiled the (massive) complete letters of Oscar Wilde and of Max Beerbohm), and to George (1883-1962, from Eton, one of the greatest English schoolmasters). George’s life would not have come to the notice of the world were it not for his weekly correspondence with former pupil, Rupert from 1955, until George’s death in 1962.
It is witty, social and so highly erudite that one is constantly challenged by the references and allusions. It was published in 6 volumes mostly given to me by John, which I devoured as they arrived. They were deliciously satirized in the slim volume: Brown Craig Brown, The Marsh-Marlowe Letters. The Correspondence of Gerald Marsh and Sir Harvey Marlowe. Volume One, 1983, Heinemann, London 1984. Of course, there were never other vols.
Here is a sample from George, pounced upon by Wikipedia:
I love re-reading. Each night from 10.30 to 12 I read Gibbon out loud. I read slowly, richly, not to say juicily; and like Prospero's isle the room is full of noises – little, dry, gentle noises. Some matter-of-fact man of blunt or gross perceptions might say it was the ashes cooling in the grate, but I know better. It is the little creatures of the night, moths and crickets and spiderlings, a mouse or two perhaps and small gnats in a wailful choir, come out to listen to the Gibbonian music: 'Twenty-two acknowledged concubines, and a library of sixty-two thousand volumes, attested the variety of his inclinations; [and from the productions which he left behind him, it appears that the former as well as the latter were designed for use rather than for ostentation]...' what sentient being, however humble, could resist that?1
Fantasy Place + Built and Natural Environment
97. Ancestral Voices (1942-3, Diaries, volume 1)
1. Refer: www.lrb.co.uk Lees-Milne and Beckford’s Tower, Wikipedia, accessed 8 Decembeer 2012 and www.personal.psu.edu Mario Praz launched the study of emblem literature, which Beckford collected, with his Studies in Seventeenth-Century Imagery, in his checklist of emblematic books, though in a rather haphazardly.
Author: James Lees-Milne
And many others by Lees-Milne.
Lees-Milne (1908-97) was an English writer and expert on country houses, architectural historian, novelist, diarist and biographer. From 1936-39 and 1941-50 he was secretary of the Country House Committee of the National Trust and initiated the first major transfer of country houses from private ownership to the Trust. After resigning he continued as architectural consultant and committee member. Though mostly gay, he and his lesbian wife Alvilde lived after 1974 at Essex House on the Badminton estate, and worked most days in William Beckford's (1760-1844) beautiful library at Lansdown Crescent, Bath that he owned (sadly, now dispersed).
Beckford's own choice of the best of works of art, virtu, books and prints and rich furnishings from Fonthill Abbey, which he been forced to sell in 1822, were rehoused in his double adjoining houses in Lansdown Crescent. At Fonthill Abbey, Beckford had assembled a truly amazing library, the best part of which he took with him to Bath. There he built another tower (open to the public) on the summit at Lansdown, linked by a landscaped walk to Lansdown Crescent. Lees-Milne was president of The Beckford Society.
I own 42 of the 44 books Lees-Milne wrote and have read almost all, including the volumes of diaries that were scrupulously edited by Michael Bloch after Lees-Milne’s death. Bloch is Lees-Milne’s literary executor, and J L-M was (secretly) in love with him for the final years of his life.
The diaries are supremely informed, astute, gossipy, snobbish, elitist, witty, racist, and often snipish, often surprisingly pro-queer, and cover society, current events and historic buildings.Typical descriptors include: a Conservative politician’s wife (‘a chirpy little trout’), the ‘great and glorious’ Thatcher and his great friend, the pro-fascist Diana Mosley, Tony Benn (the leftist politician), ‘that bitch,’ and ‘those awful women at Greenham Common’ (of the anti-nuclear movement). But I was also fascinated by the effectiveness of his powers of persuasion and management of the transition of ownership of vast ancestral country house estates to the National Trust.1
Fantasy Place + Built and Natural Environment
98. The Langton Tetralogy (four novels):
Martin Boyd, The Cardboard Crown (Cresset Press, London 1952) Landsdowne Press, Melbourne 1971.
Martin Boyd, The Cardboard Crown (Cresset Press, London 1952) Lansdowne Press, Melbourne 1971.
Martin Boyd, A Difficult Young Man (Cresset Press, London 1955) Lansdowne Press, Melbourne 1971.
Martin Boyd, Outbreak of Love (John Murray, London 1957) Lansdowne Press, Melbourne 1971.
Martin Boyd, When Blackbirds Sing (Abelard-Schuman, London 1962) Lansdowne Press, Melbourne 1971.
Martin Boyd, Much Else in Italy, Macmillan, London 1958.
And others by Boyd.
>Martin à Beckett Boyd (1893-1972) was an Australian expatriate novelist, memoirist, and poet who after the Great War lived in Britain, but died in Rome. His novels drew on his own life and his prodigiously artistic à Beckett-Boyd family, of the experiences of the Anglo-Australian upper and middle classes, torn between both places. He was charming, generous, frivolous, funny, sensitive, private, complex and struggled with his identity as an expatriate writer, as a gay man and with religious belief.
He did not believe in the class superiority he was criticized for, was loyal to family and friends, yet felt like an outsider wherever he lived. His novels are evocations of a certain Melbourne life and an idealization of Europe, in the myth of his family’s lost glory and an idealization of the doomed youth of his generation, sacrificed in the Great War.
He was Robin Boyd’s uncle and both a literary and architectural influence on Robin, which I feel has been insufficiently explored. He began an architectural indenture (or apprenticeship) at Purchas and Teague in Melbourne, possibly while they were designing the former Wool Exchange, 120-138 King Street in 1913-14, but certainly well after Guyon Purchas’s (1862-1940) most marvellous designs, eg: Tay Creggan, St James Park, Hawthorn, 1898; Wiridgil, 1883-84 and Purrumbete, 1901, both near Camperdown.
After serving in the war, Martin returned from England to live in his à Beckett grandfather's home, the Grange, Harkaway. With a great deal of energy and money he transformed the neglected, old house into an elegant, neo-Georgian setting for his C18 furniture. In 1948, he commissioned his nephew Arthur Boyd to paint a series of al fresco murals in the dining room depicting Luke XV, 15 - 17, the prodigal son fallen among the swine, but this ambitious work was sadly lost when the house was demolished in the late 1960s. There are some photos of it in a National Trust demolished buildings file.
The series of novels had its initial impulse in his discovery of his à Beckett grandmother's diaries at the Grange. Having failed to make the past live again in his lonely and disappointing life there, Martin began to create enduring fictionalised art from that failure.
In Rome from 1957 he lived for the rest of his life in a series of pensiones and apartments, on diminishing income, where his main resource was the English Centre of the still shabby, but atmospheric English Roman Catholic Pallottine minor basilica and titular Church of San Silvestro in Capite, Corso, cnr via Gambero, by Francesco da Volterra and Carlo Maderno (1591-1601), which preserves the head of John the Baptist, snatched from Salome (ensconced in a chapel accessed off via Gambero).
Martin Boyd’s faith in youth, especially the anti-Vietnam War protesters of the late 1960s, reinforced him against depression, and he defended them in his last book Why They Walk Out (1970), of essays forming a personal statement of belief, published at his own expense. He had fallen for an Italian youth Luciano Trombini, until Trombini married and moved to Milan in 1964. No closer or more lasting attachment is recorded in his life. He is buried in Rome's Cimitero acattolico. .
It was John Slater who drew my attention to: Much Else in Italy and gave me my copy.1
Fiction + Melbourne
99. Paris: A Century of Change, 1878-1978
Yale University Press
New Haven, 1979
Author: Norma Evenson
A multi-faceted history of the urban evolution of Paris over a hundred years. Norma Evenson who is now Professor Emerita of Architecture at Berkeley, received a PhD from Yale in Architectural History. She joined Berkeley’s Architecture faculty in 1963 as the first full-time historian. Her teaching included undergraduate and graduate courses, design studios and the PhD program and was Director of Graduate Studies. She specialized in the history of modern architecture and urban planning.
Her other books include: Chandigarh, a history of the planning of the capital of Punjab, The Indian Metropolis: A View Toward the West, a study of the impact of Western concepts on Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, and Delhi. Le Corbusier: the Machine and the Grand Design a comparative study of the architecture and urban planning of Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia.
François Loyer, Paris Nineteenth Century. Architecture and Urbanism, Abbeville Press, New York 1988 (below).
Michel Gallet, Paris Domestic Architecture of the 18th Century, Barrie & Jenkins, Londion 1972. [Above, held].
Stephen Duffy, The Discovery of Paris. Watercolours by Early Nineteeenth Century British Artists, The Wallace Collection, London 1913. [Catalogue, below left, held].
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Paris + Built and Natural Environment
100. The Age Good Food Guide 2013
Editor: Janne Apelgren
The first edition, edited by Claude Forell, was published in 1980. I have indulged in all 35 of them.
101. The Age Good Food Guide 2013
Editor: Janne Apelgren
The first edition, edited by Claude Forell, was published in 1980. I have indulged in all 35 of them.
102. Journeyings: The Biography of a Middle-Class Generation 1920-1990
Melbourne University Press
Author: Janet McCalman
Since May 1913, when it was Melbourne’s first electric tram route, the 69 tram has collected and deposited private school boys and girls in Melbourne's leafy middle-class heartland. This book based on impressive and immaginative oral and documentary research, follows some of them on their first day of school in 1934, but then continues the experience through the 1950s. It forms an extraordinary and rare exploration of aspirational Australian middle class private life. The route 69 was renumbered as 16 in October 2004, not only because most down 16s became 69s at St Kilda, but also because of its sexual connotation. McCalman’s primary research included numerous interviews with parents, including analysing their financial capacity to afford the fees, which frequently then did not match their aspiration for their children. Carey, which I attended, is not one of the schools analysed, though Genazzano, Xavier (refer: Timothy Conigrave, Holding the Man), MLC and Scotch are, but her observations are very telling of my, and what must have been my parents’, experience, and as the backgound to this seminal six years in my life.
103. The Plains
Author: Gerald Murnane
And several others
Local myth has it that he was employed each day in the Rosanna Newsagency wrapping newspapers before delivery. He is said to have intimately explored the low-lying wetlands around La Trobe University. He is an avid follower of horse racing, often a metaphor in his writing. He became a teacher in at the Victoria Racing Club's Apprentice Jockeys' School.
In 2006 and again in 2010, the British sports betting firm Ladbrokes had him at fairly short odds as a Nobel winner, though such self-reflexive writers, eg: Borges, Nabokov, Proust, Calvino, have tended to be shut out of the Nobel.
After the death of his wife in 2009, Murnane moved to Goroke in the Wimmera, near where his grandparents lived, and conveniently located 370 km from Melbourne and 371 km from Adelaide, where he is involved in amateur yabbie judging. Goroke is known for its yabbies. A cycling club did exist during the 1930s, but there are no records of it. There was a swimming club formed in the thirties when concrete work for the pool was undertaken. Due to earth movement the concrete cracked and it was no longer safe for public use. ‘The award-winning Australian novelist, Gerald Murnane, has been a resident there since 2009.’
He taught himself to read Hungarian, though he has no intention of going there. indeed he has almost never left Victoria. He claims a strange urge not to be disorientated.
In the plains, his landscape, he feels I can call up any number of images. He writes about his ‘own external and internal territory.’ His books are concerned with the relation between memory, image, and landscape, and frequently with the relation between fiction and non-fiction. His writing is elusive and mesmeric, yet I’ve seen Murnane once in the flesh, and was surprised how very funny he was.
The Plains, is a short novel about a young filmmaker who travels to a fictive country far within Australia, where his failure to make a film is perhaps his most profound achievement. It is both a metaphysical parable about appearance and reality, and a parodic examination of traditions and cultural horizons. It depicts an abstracted Australia, as if from mythology, or fable.
Murnane’s published books include:
Tamarisk Row, William Heinemann Australia, Melbourne 1974.
A Lifetime on Clouds, William Heinemann Australia, Melbourne 1976.
The Plains. Nostrilla Press, Melbourne, 1982; Text Publishing Company, Melbourne 2000 and 2012.
Landscape With Landscape, Norstrilia Press, Melbourne 1985.
Inland, William Heinemann Australia, Melbourne 1988, Dalkey Archive Press, 2012.
Velvet Waters. McPhee Gribble, Melbourne 1990.
Emerald Blue, McPhee Gribble, Melbourne 1995.
Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs. Giramondo Publishing Company, Sydney, distributed by Tower Books 2005.
Barley Patch. Giramondo Publishing Company, Sydney 2009; Dalkey Archive Press, 2011.
A History of Books, Giramondo Publishing Company, Sydney 2012.
A Million Windows, Giramondo Publishing Company, Sydney 2014.
104. 12 Edmondstone Street
Author: David Malouf
And several others by Malouf (b1934-), including the libretto for Richard Meale’s opera, from Patrick White’s Voss (1986) and the ABC Boyer lectures in 1998, in which he ‘...explore[s] how living in one hemisphere and inheriting our culture from another affects who we are and the sort of world we make for ourselves in Australia.'
David Malouf, the openly gay Australian writer, born in Brisbane, but living for 30 years in Sydney and Tuscany, has a maintenance of tone, the expertness of prose, sense of spatial relation, easeful transition between lyrical and realist. His first novel, Johnno (1975), was the semi-autobiographical tale of a young man growing up in Brisbane during World War II.
12 Edmondstone Street covers similar ground, as a memoir of the spaces in which he grew up. He explores how each house, like each place, has its own topography, its own lore. He describes a complex history , through household jokes and anecdotes, odd family habits and irrational superstitutions, that forever shapes what is seen and the way in which it is seen.
Its spaces determined early habits of living, of mapping the world, as well as my first sensory responses, of the way that living, as we did, in weatherboard houses on high stumps creates a certain sort of consciousness.
But in December 1910, the its then owner the Greek Club demolished Belvedere at 27 Edmondstone Street, next to Musgrave Park, South Brisbane, which it owned, and had allowed to deteriorate for 30 years. I went there in 2012, but that address is now a boring sub-modernist 3-storied office/factory block.
Fiction + Built and Natural Environment + Gay
105. Rome: Profile of a City, 312-1308
Princeton University Press
Author: Richard Krautheimer
Richard Krautheimer, The Rome of Alexander VII 1655-1657, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1985.
The late imperial Christian and medieval history of Rome has become immensely fahionable. Rome: Profile was a pioneer, a synthetic and lyrical work of art history, which with The Rome of Alexander VII, each combined social history, vast breadth of archival knowledge and insightful architectural history, with lucid enthralling writing. In both, Krautheimer (1897-1994, art and architectural historian, Baroque scholar, and Byzantinist) selected comparatively neglected periods in Roman history for a narrative of the interaction of public works and patronage.1
And several others by Krautheimer, including:
Richard Krautheimer and Trude Krautheimer-Hess, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1956.
Richard Krautheimer, Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture, Pelican History of Art, Penguin, Harmondsworth 1965 (revised 1975 and 1979).
Richard Krautheimer, Ghiberti's Bronze Doors. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ 1971.
Richard Krautheimer, Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae: The early Christian Basilicas of Rome (IV–IX Centuries). Pontificio istituto di archeologia Cristiana, Vatican City: 1937–1977. 5 volumes. [Not held, unfortunately].
Richard Krautheimer, Three Christian Capitals: Topography and Politics. University of California Press, Berkeley 1983.
Rome + Built and Natural Environment
106. Melbourne on Foot. 15 Walks Through Historic Melbourne
Editor: Graeme Davison
Having returned to Melbourne after 5 years and 5 months away, I devoured this excellent, but now forgotten (even to Google) guide and walked, photographed and heavily notated all of its walks from Prahan to Footscray, from Northcote to Williamstown. As well as Davison (now emeritus professor), authors of the walks include: Alison Blake (now Her Grace Bishop Alison Taylor), David Dunstan, John Lack, Bernard Barrett and Renate Howe. I worked with both Alison and Graeme at the National Trust.
Melbourne + Built and Natural Environment
107. Heidelberg Conservation Study. Part II: Historic Riverland Landscape Assessment
for Heidelberg City Council
Author: Loder & Bayley and Marilyn McBriar
Ivanhoe (centre and bottom).
This early heritage study was unique in that was the first in Victoria to be of a cultural landscape. Remnants of many periods were identified in this very early landscape settled from 1838, in a search for the ‘spirit of the place’ of the landscape of my childhood.
The study area was bounded by the Darebin Creek, Yarra River to an east-west line just north of Plenty Road, including tribal Woiworung country, the great early pastoral estates (Woodside, Yallambie (Plenty Station), West Bank, Cleveland, Viewbank, Bartram’s Farm, Banyule, Verner’s, Leighton, Hartlands, the Mt Eagle camp, the Griffin Estates, Springbank, Charterisvile, Chelsworth, Fairy Hills and Rockbeare), the Heidelberg School artists’s view points and remnant C19 plantings (of briars, hawthorns, hedges, gorse, fruit trees, cypress pines and old red gums), and elements (a C19 pump and windmill, an 1866 bridge, an aboriginal canoe tree, an aboriginal stepped tree,1930s silos, old fences, an 1850s cricket ground, St John’s Church, 2 early river crossings, artists’ camp sites, boathouses, a Chinese market garden, a 1912 rail bridge, aboriginal middens, a very old waggon track, bluestone quarries, and the 1915 Livingstone Street road bridge).
I admired Marilyn Mc Briar’s work here, and so I employed her myself later in my Conservation Management Plan of Wilbraham and his son Frank Liardets’ early immeditely post-Gold Rush estate of Ballam Park, Frankston in 1989-90 where she identified remnant early plantings and view-lines.
108. Chambers for a Memory Palace
Authors: Charles W Moore and Donlyn Lyndon
And several others.
Ways of looking closely and experiencing buildings as a stimulus to thought for design. A beautiful book, the best work of Charles Moore (1925-93), of thoughts about ways to design memorable places. Illustrated with the author’s drawings.
Charles Willard Moore Post-modernist USA architect, educator, and writer, was a teaching assistant for Louis Kahn at Princeton. His doctorate, ‘Water and Architecture’, was a survey of the presence of water in shaping the experience of place and much later a book with the same title. In 1959, Moore left New Jersey and began teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, then became Dean of the Yale School of Architecture from 1965-70, following on from Paul Rudolph.
In 1975, he taught at University of California, Los Angeles and finally, in 1985, he became the O'Neil Ford Centennial Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. Moore was gay, and his outgoing, absorptive, and engaging personality and his innovation, collaboration, debate, and direct experience was a sharp contrast to the authoritarian approach of Rudolph, also gay, who clashed with student activism.
With Kent Bloomer, Moore founded the Yale Building Project in 1967 as a way both to demonstrate social responsibility and demystify the construction process for first-year students. The project remains active at Yale.
Moore’s first practice was in New Haven, and was later in a confusing array of six partnerships, due to Moore's extensive international travel and his moves, generally with former students, including: Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull, Whitaker, MLTW (1962-70); Centerbrook Architects (1975-); Moore Ruble Yudell (c1985-); Urban Innovations Group (1971-93); Charles W Moore Inc; and Moore/Andersson (dates of both unknown).
Sea Ranch’s Post-modernity derives from its response to landscape context, but later Moore loved conspicuous design features, including loud color combinations, supergraphics, stylistic collisions, the re-use of esoteric historical-design solutions, and the use of non-traditional materials such as plastic, (aluminized) PET film, platinum tiles, and neon signs, provoking arousal, demanding attention, sometimes kitsch.
His designs include: Sea Ranch, Piazza d’Italia New Orleans, and his own houses in New Haven and Austin, now preserved by a trust. He was author of 12 books, and many other books, monographs, and articles document his designs.
Although some of his architecture (interesting to compare with Venturi’s, qv) has not worn well, it was influential. I admire and have been inspired by Moore’s writing, especially the idea of this charming design correspondence in words and sketches, but also Moore’s teaching approach, his relation to his present and former students, including in business. Sea Ranch was enormously influential on me and my generation of architects, in here Melbourne. An obituary appears in the New York Times, 17 December 1993.
Charles W Moore, Gerald Allen and Donlyn Lyndon, The Place of Houses, 1974.
Charles W Moore and Kent C Bloomer, Body, Memory and Architecture, 1977.
David Littlejohn, Architect: The Life and Works of Charles W. Moore, 1984.
Charles W Moore, The Poetics of Gardens, MIT Press, 1988.
Charles W Moore, Peter Becker and Regula Campbell, The City Observed: Los Angeles, 1998. An excellent guide to Los Angeles' significant architecture.
Charles W Moore, Water and Architecture, 1994. And other works by Moore.
Kevin P Keim, An Architectural Life: Memoirs & Memories of Charles W Moore. 1996.
Donlyn Lyndon and Jim Alinder, The Sea Ranch, (2004) 2014.
www.charlesmoore.org for the Charles Moore Foundation.
www.lib.utexas.edu for The Charles W. Moore Archives: Project records,1965-1992.
109. The Ballad of Sexual Dependency
New York 1986
Author: Nan Goldin
And several other works by Goldin.
Goldin (b1953-) is a bisexual USA photographer. She first explored photographic journeys among Boston’s gay and transsexual communities, to which she had been introduced by her friend David Armstrong. In New York City, she documented the post-punk new-wave scene, and the post-Stonewall gay subculture of 1979-86, and especially the Bowery's hard-drug subculture. This work formed her slideshow and book The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, which I saw presented at Heide. Most of those depicted were dead by the 1990s. In Thailand, she photographed the trans community.
She explains that ‘Caravaggio also knew all the people that he painted. They were his lovers or hustlers. Pasolini used boys from the street that he loved, or that he desired. Fassbinder only used people he knew. Cassavetes used the same people over and over...’ [as did David Hockney, and William Yang, with whom she has various things in common].
I took to her work immediately, it was so intimate and evocative of narrative and atmosphere and always beautiful, however occasionally shocking. Her later work is more serene and lyrical. I bought all of her books I could find. Alas, she has never had a retrospective, or single person show, in Melbourne.1
1. Wikipedia, accessed 8 December 2012 and www.fototapeta.art.pl
Photography + Gay
110. Architecture and Landscape. The Design Experiment of the Great European Gardens and Landscapes
Basel 2003, Revised and Expanded Edition
Author: Clemens Steenbergen and Wouter Reh
Paul van der Ree, Gerrit Smienk and Clemens Steenbergen, Italian Villas and Gardens, a corso di designo, (Thoth) Prestel, Amsterdam 1992.
Clemens Steenbergen and Wouter Reh, with co-operation of Gerrit Smienk, Architecture and Landscape. The Design Experiment of the Great European Gardens and Landscapes, Prestel, Munich 1996.
Gerrit Smienk and Johannes Niemeijer, Palladio, the Villa and the Landscape, Birkhäuser, for the Faculty of Architecure, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands Basel 2011.
These books I return to frequently. Begining with Italian Villas, they visually explore landscape architectural elements (or layers) in analytically and correctly depicting a series of buildings in their landscape setting and in their visual relationships to each other. These topographical relations and contexts seem to have been there from their beginnings. The villas are those still surrounding Rome, around Florence, and in the Veneto, but also the town-planning of Paris, and even in a more fragmentary way, of London and the larger English country houses. They use topographic mapping and more recently, aerial photography.
It seemed to me that the early estates at Heidelberg, Victoria and Melbourne itself could be similarly explored. Perhaps it also has relevance to Harriet Edquist’s exploration of the Western District estates.
This approach is applied to contemporary design in the architecture designed as if landscape by Steenbergen’s doctorial students, eg: OMA’s Two Libraries, at Jussieu; MVRDV’s Gwangyo Poxwer Centre near Seoul; Paris Diller & Scofidio’s Blur Building at Expo.02, at Yverdon-les-Bain; Foreign Office Architects’ Yokohama Ferry Terminal and Peter Eisenman’s City of Culture, at Galicia.
Landscape+ Built and Natural Environment
111. Design of Cities
Thames & Hudson
Author: Geoffrey Bacon
An early analysis of the evolution of urban design depicted in 3D views and city plans, and movement systems as a basis for how cities grow, comparable to Rasmussen’s Towns and Buildings 16 years earlier, but also in the creative theoretical analysis of urban form. Bacon was managing director of the Philadelphia Planning Commission (1949-70).
Urban Design+ Built and Natural Environment
112. The Farewell Symphony
Author: Edmund White
Edmund White, States of Desire. Travels in Gay America, 1980.
Edmund White, Genet: A Biography, 1993.
Edmund White, drawings: Hubert Sorin, Sketches from Memory: People and Places in the Heart of Our Paris, Chatto & Windus and Picador, London 1994.
And many others by White.
Edmund White (b1940-) is the finest living openly gay writer. His prodigious works range from novels, short stories, travel guides, biography, to memoir. These are sometimes unprecedently and shockingly frank, and unapologetic about his promiscuity, his sexual predilections, his vulnerability and his being HIV-positive.
The Farewell Symphony is the work that for me most evokes the free-wheeling carefree sexual lifestyle that I and many others experienced until 1983, in the pre-AIDS era.
States of Desire is journalism of a high order, remarkable as an egalitarian travelogue, but that draws out what is remarkable about gay people: the diversity of their ordinariness. From 1980-81, White was a member of the New York gay writers' group, The Violet Quill, with Andrew Holleran, Robert Ferro, Felice Picano, George Whitmore, Christopher Cox and Michael Grumley.
From 1983-90 he lived in Paris and I was touched by his description of the life that he and with his architect partnet Hubert Sorin (1962-94) lived on the Île St Louis, in their apartnment, its décor influenced by Mario Praz (qv), and of Sorin’s subsequent protracted and horrible death from AIDS in Marrakesh, and then of White learning about Sorin’s deception about his modest origins.
His massive biography of Genet about a difficult subject, whose early life is elusive, is a masterly tour de force.1
Urban Design+ Built and Natural Environment
113. To the bitter end: the diaries of Victor Klemperer
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Author: Victor Klemperer
Translated: Martin Chalmers
Victor Klemperer, translated: Martin Chalmers, I shall bear witness: the diaries of Victor Klemperer, 1933-41, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1998.
Victor Klemperer, translated: Martin Chalmers, The Lesser Evil: The Diaries of Victor Klemperer 1945-1959, Phoenix Books, London 2004.
Victor Klemperer,Language of the Third Reich (LTI: Lingua Tertii Imperii, 1947), Paperback.
Victor Klemperer (1881-1960, Dresden) was a Professor of Literature, specialising in the French Enlightenment, at the Technische Universität, Dresden.
One of the first grown-up books I ever read was William L Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, published in 1960. I remain particularly interested in the survivors, qv, eg: Edmund de Waal, The Hare with the Amber Eyes and Tim Bonyhady, Good Living Street: The Fortunes of My Viennese Family, Allen & Unwin, Sydney 2011.
Klemperer’s work is entirely different. This is the most harrowing book I have read. It describes Klemperer’s experience of the half-life of those condemned to live through the gradual subjugation of the Jewish people, not imprisoned, but with no rights and seeking rotten potatoes as subsistence food.
This relentless diary is an uncommented inside view to the all day life in Germany during the Third Reich, first-hand information about the terrorism, not in the concentration camps, but in ‘normal’ daily life. Klemperer shows on nearly every page, how many Germans didn't follow Hitler's anti-Semitic view. He noticed the meanings, conversations, wishes and anxiety of the German population and always wondered about the opinion of the majority, is it for or against Hitler?
He survived because of the self-imposed mechanism of taking on this massive diary and also his glossary of Nazi terminology as projects, and pursued them to the end. He survived by setting himself those two academic projects, about which he could speak to no-one. And so he survived, but as volume 3 reveals, after the war, his life was unfulfilled.
As he records, he noticed the endless list of restrictions on Jews, simple and little things, forgotten and backgrounded by the horror of the concentration camps, but new for us today. He noticed, how people divide into heroes and opportunists. It's hard to imagine, that someone can register, analyse und document all this on an unbelievable level of quantity and quality under the circumstances of being starving, ill, pressured, worked und humiliated.
He wrote not only a diary, but fine literature, especially his description ‘Zelle 89’ and his 8-day imprisonment on a level like the Schachnovelle (or Chess novel) of Arnold Zweig. Around him his friends are murdered, or suicide, and he expects his own death every day, so it becomes a real thriller. We know that he survived, but nearly everybody else, who it introduces to the reader, didn't.
His memories from 1881-1918 and the diaries from 1918-32 also record how life was during World War I, and how the republic turned to dictatorship, and his diaries from 1945-59, record why he decided to stay in East-Germany and join the communist party, despite his liberal political opinions. Together all four books must be the best inside view of German history during these crucial periods. There is such a slow and ineluctable building of suspense and empathy. Warning: the 1942 diary is really the most depressing one.
This work is not one to read a second time. It exposes the extent of insidious cruelty of which some humans are capable, and refuses to elude memory.1
1. Omer Bartov, ‘The Last German,’ in The New Republic, 28.12.1998-, pp 34+, a scholarly overview of the diaries by a professor at Brown University.
Autobiography + History
114. Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch
Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
London 1998, (The first of the trilogy).
Author: John Bayley
And several others by Bayley.
Professor John Bayley (b1925-) is a lucid English literary academic, critic and writer. At Eton he was taught by George Lyttleton (qv), and became Professor of English at Oxford. From 1956 until her death in 1999, he was married to the novelist, playwright, philosopher and fellow academic, Dame Iris Murdoch (1919-99).
When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, he wrote about it and about them in this book. I was fascinated by what slipped away from her and what remained between them, not realising that before too long I would be placed in a similar situation with John. I also enjoy the concision of Bayley’s extensive literary criticism.
115. A Cab at the Door: an autobiography: Early Years
Chatto & Windus
Author: V S Pritchett
And several others by Pritchett, including:
V S Pritchett, London Perceived, 1962.
V S Pritchett, Midnight Oil, 1971.
V S Pritchett, The Pritchett Century, 1997.
Sir Victor Pritchett (1900-97), British writer, memoirist and literary critic, was the non-academic author of 40 collections of pithy short stories, travel pieces and lucid essays on literary biography and of criticism in periodicals.
He claimed that a work of art is a deposit left by the conflicts and contradictions a writer has in his own nature. He said he wrote as a means of discovery, and was discovering, over 75 years, his own nature as it grew and reacted in response to literature and life, as he carved his way to a personal truth and left shrewd observations and fleeting insights. Gore Vidal (qv) said that Pritchett was the best critic writing in the English language.
I know well and love the splendid gin palace, The Salisbury, 90 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4AP, very intact from 1892 (interior 1898, no designer known) well as my habitual drinking and ogling place from 1974-78, when it was still gay. John and I would meet there before an evening in the West End, perhaps at Covent Garden, or a theatre.
There I memorably first met, began my affair with, and drank a fatal amount of alcohol with, the actor Tom Hardy; and there I once encountered Sir John Gielgud cottaging (picking up) in its very tiny basement urinal, accessed by a miniature spiral stair, said to narrow as it descends. It is within a few metres of five theatre stage doors.
Before I had entered any pub, I remember peering into its glittering interior and wondering what was such an apparently private club (could anyone enter?), before I first entered it with the fearless Gerry Sable. For years I wondered who could enter such apparently private (to their differing coteries) pubs as El Vino, Fleet Street (journalist and legal), or The Trafalgar, Greenwich (political). I still do not know why The Salisbury’s name inscribed on its external mirrored glass is ‘Salisbury Stores.’
Above Left: Evelyn Hofer, The Salisbury, St. Martin’s Lane, 1962. © Estate of Evelyn Hofer1
V S Pritchett, writing in London Perceived, in 1962:
The square is our characteristic alternative to the grande place or the piazza. There are no central places, foreigners complain, where “Londoners meet” or stroll along together to pass the time of day. The answer to that is, first, that Londoners do not meet, do not gather, and reject the peculiar notion that people like “running across each other” in public places. They emphatically do not. We are full of clubs, pubs, cliques, coteries, sets, although the influence of mass life are changing us so that even the London public house is becoming public. But most pubs are still divided into bars, screened and provided with quiet mahogany corners where the like-minded can protect themselves against those of different mind. And – one must admit – with different purses.
116. Cities and Natural Processes
London and New York 1995
Author: Michael Hough
This book demonstrates how an intelligent understanding of nature (eg: the water cycle, waste disposal, vegetation, animals and agriculture) can bring economic, social and aesthetic benefits to the design of buildings and cities. It is full of fascinating design ideas and insights. There has also been a more recent edition published. Marina Alberti’s (qv) book is an interesting, more recent, scientific and academic comparison.
Landscape + Built and Natural Environment
117. The Colours of Rome
The Danish Architectural Press and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture Publishers
Author: Bente Lange
A sophisticated and subtle historical analysis by a Danish academic on whom I coukd find no background, is expressed through its visual accuracy in watercolours, rather than in photographs. Rome’s colours changed during the C19 to the ochres, indian reds and mid-greens known to tourists, but following paint sample analysis, is gradually returning to the paler pastels of the C18, and earlier. I have not yet seen Lange’s two other books below, in which I am very interested.
Other authors have analysed traditional localised window and door colours in Europe in relation to local materials, especially the Lenclos’ systematic colour-mapping of regional France and the world. Dominique Lenclos is a classics professor who collaborates with her husband, Jean-Philippe, in his research on the geography of colour.1
Bente Lange, photos by Jens Lindhe, Thorvaldsen's Museum: architecture, colours, light, Danish Architectural Press, Copenhagen 2002.
Bente Lange, The Colours of Copenhagen, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, 1997.
Dominique Lenclos and Jean-Philippe Lenclos, Gregory Bruhn, translator, Colors of the World: A Geography of Color, 2004. Paperback.
Dominique Lenclos and Jean-Philippe Lenclos, Windows of the World, 2005. Paperback.
Dominique Lenclos and Jean-Philippe Lenclos, Windows of the World, 2005. Paperback.
Jean-Philippe Lenclos and Dominique Lenclos, Les Couleurs de la France: Geographie de la Couleur, 1990.
Colour/Rome + Built and Natural Environment
118. Victorian Geology Excursion Guide
Australian Academy of Science
Editors: Ian Clark & Barry Cook
With King and Weston, a fascinating and very useful practical guide to understanding the evolution of the topography and geology of Victoria, from the visible survuiving evidence, at sometimes very otherwise familiar, places.
Melbourne + Built and Natural Environment
119. Dimension Stone in Victoria, Geological Survey Report 112
Natural Resources and Environment
Author: R L King & K S Weston
A unique analysis of the stone cladding of almost all the major buildings in central Melbourne, their characteristics and quarry sources.
Also, more technical: www.dbforms.ga.gov.au Australian Stratographic Units Database (stone types).
Melbourne + Built and Natural Environment
120. Illustrated Glossary of Architecture, 850-1830; and Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture 850-1830
Faber & Faber
London 1966; London 1966. Paperback
Author: Jill Lever & John Harris
I have both the first edition hardback (but my copy lacking the cover below) and the later revised and much expanded paperback edition.
John Harris (b1931-), English curator, historian of architecture, gardens and architectural drawings, and author than 25 books and catalogues and 200 articles, Fellow of RIBA (though not an architect) and Curator Emeritus of the RIBA Drawings Collection. Extraordinarily, he is an autodidact and left school at 14.
In 1972-2002, just before I arrived in London, he established a permanent home for the RIBA Drawings Collection in Home House, the James Adam designed building at 21 Portman Square, next door to and sharing with, the Courtauld Institute, which was at no 20. There he organised 42 exhibitions at the Heinz Gallery, the first purpose-built gallery for the display of architectural drawings in the English-speaking world.
With Sir Roy Strong and Marcus Binney, he was a co-curator of the seminal activist ‘Destruction of the Country House’ exhibition that I saw at the V & A Museum in 1974, which gave impetus to conserve British country houses; and then in 1975, in the founding of the activist SAVE Britain's Heritage. In c1961, he married to American historian and author Dr Eileen Harris.
This is a concise and couth glossary, but particularly useful because every definition is related to a photograph, to enable clarity and location of the elements defined.
And many other books and catalogues, including this selection:
John Harris, English Decorative Ironwork from Contemporary Source Books, 1610–1836, Master Hands Series, Tiranti, 1960.
John Harris, A collection of drawings and pattern books, Tiranti, 1960.
John Harris with Nikolaus Pevsner, Lincolnshire. Buildings of England, Penguin, Harmondsworth 1964. Revised by Nicholas Antram in 1970 and 1989.
John Harris, A Country House Index An index to over 2000 country houses illustrated in 107 books of country views published between 1715 and 1872, together with a list of British country house guides and country house art collection catalogues for the period 1726–1880, Pinhorns Handbooks No 7, 1971.
John Harris with Roy Strong and Marcus Binney, The Destruction of the Country House: 1875–1975, Thames & Hudson Ltd, London 1974.
John Harris with Gavin Stamp, Silent Cities An Exhibition of the Memorial and Cemetery Architecture of the Great War, at the RIBA Heinz Gallery, London 1977.
John Harris, The Artist and the Country House, Sotheby Parke Bernet, London 1979.
John Harris, The Palladians, Rizzoli, 1982.
John Harris, William Talman: Maverick Architect, Genius of Architecture Series, Allen and Unwin, London 1982.
John Harris, The Design of the English Country House, Trefoil Publications Ltd, London 1985.
John Harris, The Architect and the British Country House, 1620–1920, 1985.
John Harris, Carlo Fontana: The Drawings at Windsor Castle, 1987. [Not held].
John Harris, Echoing Voices: More Memories of a Country House Snooper, John Murray, London 1989 (2002).
John Harris and G Higgot, Inigo Jones: Complete Architectural Drawings. Studies in Architecture, Zwemmer, London 1989.
John Harris, editor, with Stephen Astley, Janine Barrier, Gertrud Siedmann and Michael Snodin, Sir William Chambers: Catalogues of Architectural Drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A Publications, London 1997. [Not held].
John Harris, No Voice from the Hall: Early Memories of a Country House Snooper, John Murray, London 1998.
John Harris, with Robert Hradsky, A Passion for Building: the Amateur Architect in England 1650–1850, Sir John Soane's Museum, London 2007.
Words+ Built and Natural Environment
121. Les rues de Paris, a travers les croquis d'Albert Laprade
Author: Albert Laprade
Without any English translation, but with numerous delightful freehand, but dimensioned, drawings of architectural elevations, streetsapes, decorative details, including some interiors, particularly staircases, often with unobtrusive but witty period people and vehicles, of buildings in mostly the 1er, 2eme, 3eme & 4eme arrondisements, views: including Place des Vosges, a recreation of La Bastille, and details extensively of monuments in Cimetiere Per-Lachaise, in Paris.
Albert Laprade (1883-1978), was a French government architect for public buildings. He designed the Citroën Garage in rue Marbeuf, Paris (1929), but is best known for the National Centre for the History of Immigration (the former National Museum of Arts of Africa and Oceania, the Palais de la Porte Dorée, 1931, refer photograph below) in an Art Moderne style, with a bas-relief due to Alfred Janniot to illustrate the wealth of the French colonies, and with a gate by Jean Prouve, located in the SE of Paris. Refer below.1
Also he designed three accommodation buildings in the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris: Foundation Grancher Rosa Abreu (1930-32), the Residence Lucien Paye (1949-51) and the House of Morocco (1949-53) both with Jean Philippe Vernon and Bruno, Prefecture of Paris, boulevard Morland (1955-56), the building of the Paris electricity Company Building, 76 rue de Rennes, Paris.
Albert Laprade, The Streets of Paris through the Sketches of Albert Laprade, Berger-Levrault, (ISBN 2-7013-0410-5).
Albert Laprade,Architecture of France through the Sketches of Albert Laprade, Berger-Levrault, (ISBN 2-7013-0409-1).
Albert Laprade, Mediterranean Architecture through Drawings by Albert Laprade, Berger-Levrault, (ISBN 2-7013-0548-9).
Paris + Built and Natural Environment
122. Paris. Buildings and Monuments. An Illustrated Guide with over 850 Illustratioins and Neighborhood Maps
Harry N Abrams, Inc
New York 1999
Author: Michel Poisson
Complementary to Laprade, freehand-drawn elevations, and plans of historic buildings and monuments, and some aerial views of complexes in central Paris, with basic historic information, for background and to readily locate them.
Poisson is a Parisian architect1, who spent several years sketching the city's buildings and urban spaces, locating them on maps of his own devising, and providing the requisite data and commentary. It is organized by arrondissement, each entry has a short description, or comment, a freehand drawing, an address, date, the architect, and the patron and the closest métro station.
It's an amazing effort for one person: 200 maps, 535 entries, 650 drawings, and all the necessary research. Paris has no Pevsner, or Survey of London, but London has no Leprade, Moireau, or Poisson. Refer also Laprade, above.
With Laprade and Poisson, a third book of virtuosic drawings of Paris is:
Robinson (Werner Kruze), Intrioduction: Franz Weber, Paris. Line by Line, Universe Publishing, Rizzoli Internmational Publications Inc, (c1962) 2013.
And a fourth such book is:
Fabrice Moireau: sketches, text: Carl Morac, Rooftops of Paris, Thames & Hudson London 2010. [Held]
Fabrice Moireau and Deborah Howard, text, Venice Sketchbook, 2012, and several other Moireau sketchbooks, including one of Penang. For Howard, refer below.
1. Nothing is known about him
Paris + Built and Natural Environment
123. Sadness, Allen & Unwin
Author: William Yang
Born 1943, his grandparents emigrated from Northern China in 1880. A playwright from 1969-74, then a freelance photographer, with his first exhibition in 1977 causing a sensation with its frank depictions of Sydney’s gay and party scene, then the dying of his friends from AIDS. From c1985, he explored his Chinese heritage and visited China.
From 1989, like Nan Goldin (qv), he wrote and performed slide show monologues, several of which Darrell and I saw. The third one, Sadness, depicting deaths and dying from HIV-AIDS in Sydney, is a most moving work, and later ones of his explorations of his Chinese heritage, his relation to Buddhism and to his apartment in Arncliffe. His beautiful portraits of Patrick White are the most used images of him. Yang is one of the few highly original artists to emerge from Sydney in my lifetime.1
And several others by Yang, including:
William Yang, Sydney Diary, 1974-1984, James Fraser, Sydney 1984.
William Yang, Starting Again. A time in the Life of William Yang, Heinemann, Melbourne 1988.
William Yang, with Chris Pip, Bodywork: Confessions from the Funeral Trade, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney 1988.
William Yang, Patrick White. The Later Years, Pan Macmillan, Sydney 1995.
William Yang, Friends of Dorothy, Pan Macmillan, Sydney 1997.
Photography + Gay
124. Take me to Paris
Author: John Foster1
Dr John Foster (1944-94) retired from teaching history the University of Melbourne in August 1993 because of illness. On 2 September he launched his biography of Juan Céspedes, his late partner, a young Cuban dancer who died from AIDS in Melbourne in 1987, Take Me to Paris, Johnny, which received unanimous critical acclaim, and is an almost unbearably moving and a great Melbourne love story.
His teaching and research was in German, and his research included of historic gardens, including Rippon Lea. He knew Richard Aitken and Trevor Blake through St Mary’s Church, North Melbourne, which whilst at Urban Spaces Pty Ltd, I restored.
Foster died seven years later, also of AIDS, in 1994.The next year, the Bailleau Library learned that he had bequeathed the Foster Bequest of $468,000 to it ‘...for the purpose of increasing the research collections in the fields of modern Jewish history and modern German history.’ He had already donated many books on these topics and on garden history to the Library and encouraged others to also, including international collections, leading to the library’s German collections being exceptionally wide-ranging. He gave a talk there on ‘Floral Fashions in the Garden, 1850-1900,’ illustrated with images from books in the Library’s Botany Branch Library. To Meanjin, he described himself as a ‘gardener and poultry-keeper.
John Foster, Victorian Picturesque: the Colonial Gardens of William Sangster. [Not held].
John Foster, Community of Fate: Memoirs of German Jews in Melbourne. [Not held].
John Foster, ‘Brunning's Australian Gardener,’ Landscape Issue, Meanjin, Vol 47, Issue 3, Spring 1988. [Not held].2
1. Juliet Flesch, Collection Management Librarian at the University of Melbourne Library, ‘John Foster. A recollection.’ Refer: Data. www.unimelb.edu.au
Photography + Gay
125. Holding the Man
Ringwood, Victoria 1995
Author: Timothy Conigrave
This memoir was published in February 1995 just a few months after Conigrave's death. I first read it when I was in London for Geoff’s funeral, and saw the very successful play taken from it at the Malthouse, Melbourne, in a rather contrived production. It had been adapted for the stage by Tommy Murphy in 2006. It tells the story of Tim's life, and his relationship with his lover of fifteen years, John Caleo (c1959-92).
They met in the mid-1970s at Xavier College, the boys’ Jesuit school in Kew. In Australian Rules football ‘holding the man’ is a transgression that incurs a penalty. Caleo was a star footballer at Xavier, captain of the football team, winning the Public Schools Best and Fairest trophy in 1976 and an avid supporter of the Essendon Football Club.
Conigrave’s family supported their son’s relationship, but the Caleo’s never did, as exemplified by the scene set in 1992 in which they were present as he lay dying, while not acknowledging Conigrave’s presence there. The Caleos lived in Gruyere Crescent, East Ivanhoe during the period of the play (c1975-90), very near to where I grew up. He might well have caught the same yellow bus up Burke Road to Xavier, as I did to Carey. Now Caleo’s parents live in a flat in Locksley Road, Ivanhoe, a hundred metres from here.
Conigrave (1959-94) was an Australian actor, writer and activist, born in Melbourne, and after attending the Xavier and Monash University, he moved to Sydney to study at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), graduating in 1984. He initiated the acclaimed Soft Targets (1986) at Sydney's Griffin Theatre Company, where he served on the board of directors. Holding the Man was his major work.
Tommy Murphy,Holding the Man / Strangers in Between, Currency Press, Sydney 2006, contains the script of the play.
Neil Armfield (director), Kylie du Fresne (producer) and Tommy Murphy (writer) have made a film version of Holding the Man, which is in the can, to be released in 2015.
Max McLean, ‘Holding the Baby,’ Outrage Magazine, July 1997, with photos of Timothy Conigrave and John Caleo.1
1. www.alphabrett.com Relationships + Gay
126. Melbourne Architecture
Melbourne + Built and Natural Environment
Watermark Architectural Guides
Watermark, Sydney (1999) 2009.
Author: Philip Goad
There is no published history of architecture in Australia, and no published history of architecture in Melbourne other than Professor Miles Lewis’s history of the development of the City of Melbourne: M B Lewis, Melbourne: the city's history and development, City of Melbourne, Melbourne 1994.
So this handbook and gazetteer must also suffice to outline the city’s architectural history. But although the first edition had many flaws, most of these were corrected in the second edition. There are companion volumes for Adelaide, Sydney and Canberra, which are less current.
And several other books by Professor Philip Goad. Refer below.
127. The First Cuckoo. Letters to the Times 1900-1975
Times Books and George Allen & Unwin
London (1976) 1977
Author: Kenneth Gregory
Introduction and Forward: Bernard Levin
Kenneth Gregory, Chosen and Introduced, The Second Cuckoo. A further selection of witty, amusing and memorable letters to the Times, George Allen & Unwin, London 1983.
Kenneth Gregory, Chosen and Introduced, The Third Cuckoo. More Classic Letters to the Times.1900-1985, George Allen & Unwin, London 1985.
Kenneth Gregory, Chosen and Introduced, Forward: Bernard Levin, The Last Cuckoo. The very best letters to the Times since 1900, Times Books and George Allen & Unwin, London 1987.
128. New Words from Old. A survey of misused, vogue and cliche words
TLondon 1977 (held)
Author: Philip Howard
Philip Howard (b1933-), former Literary Editor of The Times, a journalist on that paper for almost 40 years, and the erudite author of numerous popular books on the English language. He was educated at Culford School and Cheam School, was a King's Scholar at Eton College and became a major scholar at Trinity College, Oxford, His Lost Words column still appears weekly in The Times.
Philip Howard, Weasel Words, Hamish Hamilton, London 1978. [Held, from John].
Philip Howard, Words Fail Me, Hamish Hamilton, London 1980. [Held].
Philip Howard, A Word in Your Ear, Hamish Hamilton, London 1983. [Held].
Philip Howard, The State of the Language, Hamish Hamilton, London 1984. [Held, from John].
Philip Howard, Winged Words, Oxford University Press, New York 1988. [Held].
Philip Howard, illustrated: Tim Jacques, Word-Watching. A Safari Through the Language, Elm Tree Books, London 1988, paperback. [Held].
Philip Howard, Lost Words, The Robson Press, London 2012.
129. Lights out for the territory: 9 Excursions in the secret history of London
Author: Iain Sinclair
Iain Sinclair (b 1943-) is a prolific English writer and filmmaker of London. He is influenced by psychogeography and explores the deep meaning of journeys and place. He takes long walks, linking historical, mystical and occult places. He collaborates with filmmaker and novelist Chris Petit, sculptor Steve Dilworth, artist Rachel Lichtenstein and film-maker Peter Whitehead.
His view is in some ways comparable to architect Patrick Keiller (b 1950-) English film-maker, writer, researcher and lecturer; writer Will Self (b 1961-) English author, journalist and television personality, and to Stewart Home (b 1962-), English artist, filmmaker, writer, pamphleteer, art historian, and activist. Sinclair often writes for the LRB.
And several other books and articles by Sinclair, refer below.
And several other books and articles by Sinclair:
Back Garden Poems, poetry, 1970
The Kodak Mantra Diaries: Allen Ginsberg in London, documentary, 1971. (Held).
Muscat's Wurm, poetry, 1972
The Birth Rug, poetry, 1973
Lud Heat, poetry, 1975
Suicide Bridge, poetry, 1979
Flesh Eggs and Scalp Metal, poetry, 1983
Autistic poses, poetry, 1985
Flesh Eggs and Scalp Metal: Selected Poems 1970-1987, poetry, 1987
Significant wreckage, poetry, 1988
White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings, fiction, 1987 (limited edition from Goldmark, reprinted by Paladin)
Downriver, novel, 1991. [Held].
Jack Elam's Other Eye, poetry, 1991
Radon Daughters, novel, 1994
Conductors of Chaos: a Poetry Anthology, editor, 1996
Penguin Modern Poets Volume Ten: Douglas Oliver, Denise Riley, Iain Sinclair, 1996.
The Ebbing of the Kraft, poetry, 1997
Slow Chocolate Autopsy, fiction, 1997
Crash, essay, 1999
Liquid City, non-fiction, 1999 (with Marc Atkins). [Held].
Rodinsky's Room, non-fiction, 1999 (with Rachel Lichtenstein). [Held].
Sorry Meniscus, essay, 1999
Landor's Tower, novel, 2001
130. The Architecture of Rome. An Architectural History in 402 Individual Presentations
Stuttgart and London, 1998 (Held, but also available in Google Books)
Author: Stefan Grundmann
The most useful, detailed, analytical and perceptive gazeteer of architecture in Rome, which I find more treasures in with every dip.
Professor Dr, Dr Stefan Grundmann, LL M, has been Professor at Humboldt-University, Berlin, for German, European and International Private and Business Law since 2004 is something of a polymath. He heads the Institute for Banking and Capital Market Law and is deputy of the faculty the European Law School. But he also studied philosophy and the history of art, and has written two books, one on the painting of Titian (1987), and the other on Modernist and post-Modernist architecture (1995).
Also: Stefan Grundmann, Modern, Post-Modern - and Now Baroque? Evolution of 20th-Century's Architecture, 1997, ISBN13: 9783930698783.1
Rome + Built and Natural Environment
131. The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens
Oxford University Press
Authors: Richard Aitken & Michael Looker
Richard (1957-) is a friend. He is an independent scholar, editor, writer, historian, bibliophile, exhibition curator and conservation architect, with a deep interest in historic gardens and garden history. He has published several books on aspects of this subject that are beautifully written, designed and illustrated, since his Oxford Companion, for which I wrote three entries. His interests and writing style are most quirky, witty; recognisably and inimitably his own. He also has a remarkable architectural conservation and garden history library.
It is exceedingly rare in Victoria that an architect excels across several disciplines, as Richard does, particularly his editing, writing and curatorship, his elegant, rigorous, articulate, supremely literate yet idiosyncratic voice sings through, enlivened by his quirky fascination with ephemera.
He has been in private practice since 1978, aged 21, and has prepared conservation management plans for many of Australia’s most significant historic gardens, including the botanic gardens of Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. In 2006 I proposed him for a honorary life membership of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). He is co-editor of Australian Garden History, quarterly journal of the Australian Garden History Society, for the second time.
And several other books by Richard, including:
Richard Aitken, The Garden of Ideas, Miegunyah Press and SLV, Melbourne 2011.
Richard Aitken, Gardenesque, 2004.
Richard Aitken, Botanical Riche, 2006.
Richard Aitken, Seeds of Change, 2006.
The Art of the Collection (2007), one chapter.
Reframing Darwin (2009), one chapter.1
1. Richard Peterson, Richard Aitken honorary member of the NTAV nomination speech, 2005.
132. Through Artists Eyes
The Miegunyah Press
Author: John Slater
John (b 1927-) is a dear friend and mentor. He was a teacher of history and housemaster at Bedales School, UK, became an HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools) and Staff Inspector for History, pursued his interest in American Studies and the teaching of controversy, and actively initiated both the subjects of Peace Studies and Political Education, and successfully defended their teaching in the secondary school system against a rising tide of criticism and opposition.
In 1993-95 he returned to study after 43 years and plunged into an MA at Birkbeck College, University of London in the History of Art under the direction of Francis Ames-Lewis. Over 1996-2001, John worked assiduously on his Doctorate of Philosophy through the University of Exeter, supervised by Peter Quatermaine, the author of the first monograph on the distinguished Australian artist Geoffrey Smart. It is a comprehensive close-reading and analysis of all known autonmous (that is artistic, so no commercial art, or commercial photography) images of urban Australia from the end of the Great War to the end of World War II.
Following a comprehensive reading of the literature of the period, John looked at all of the art reviews and art news in every issue of the Sydney and Melbourne daily papers of the period, he looked at every known image of the period in situ, he often went to the sites depicted, and compiled this material as a data base which he then analysed visually, and described his observations. The work can make less comprehensive claims for images of urban Brisbane, Newcastle, Adelaide and Perth, although many of these were also included.
This task had not previously been attempted, and this meant that he discovered many images previously unknown to scholars. He noticed very few images of complete families, many images of usefully occupied women, but many of feckless indolent men, possibly due to the after-effects of the Great War, and some anachronistic nostalgic images. In 2001, John’s doctorate was awarded, but he had already begun the arduous haul towards its preparation for publication in 2004.
This book is a complete re-writing and development of John’s doctorial thesis. It begins with a summation of John’s view of what history is as a discipline, gained from his career of reflection and experience on the subject and its teaching in Europe, and of the difference between history and art history, of which he is persuasively critical, particularly of its tendancy to speculation of the contents of artists’ minds, insights and intentions, without evidence. He also speaks frankly as an outsider, though one with a profound knowledge of Australian culture and urban life gained in extended visits over 25 years since from 1979. The book is beautifully designed and the images selected and reproduced with care.
To summarise, John has made major contributions to the cultures of both Australia and the United Kingdom.
Over there, he initiated secondary teaching of Political Studies and was mid-wife to its difficult birth, of Peace Education, of the teaching of controversy, and of the National Curriculum in History, and he was advisor to eight Secretaries of State for Education and Science, including Margaret Thatcher, Shirley Williams and Sir Keith Joseph, as well as some dimmer lights.
In Australia, he completed and published groundbreaking doctorial research in a comprehensive analysis of urban and suburban images in the crucial period of 1920-45, when our view of ourselves as Australians was so dramatically evolving.
So his life effectively spanned three careers: as an exemplary and inspiring teacher, as a policy intiator, advisor and disseminator as Staff Inspector at HMI, and in art historical reasearch in a previously unploughed field. I had the good fortune to know him well during both the second (when confronted the greatest intellect in the Thatcher government, Sir Keith Joseph), and third of these (when he comprehensively trawled, analysed and extracted meaning from every autonomous image of urban interwar Australia).
And other works, both published and unpublished by Dr Slater, including:1
H Gardiner & J Slater, Think for Yourself, Harrap, London 1964.
J G Slater, ‘Serving UNESCO,’ in R A Wake, editor, Inspectors’ Bulletin, Department of Education and Science, London, April 1973, pp 3-13.
R A S Hennessey and J G Slater, ‘Subject Appendix on Political Competence,’ HMI, 22 February 1977.
[John Slater], ’History in a Multi-cultural Society.’ [No author noted, undated typescript].
John Slater, ‘Why History? Trends in Education, Department of Education and Science, London, Spring 1978, pp 3-7.
[John Slater], ‘An Historian Looks at Pictures,’ [No author noted, undated typescript, February 1981?].
J G Slater, ‘Values Education: The Implication for History,’ 22 November 1983. [Paper].
Mr John Slater, HMI, ‘An HMI Perspective on Peace Education,’ Educating People for Peace. Report of a One-Day Conference on Peace Education in Schools, The National Council for Women of Great Britain, London 1984, pp 22-27.2
Professor John Slater, The Politics of History Teaching. A Humanity Dehumanised? [Special Professorial Lecture, Institute of Education, University of London, London] 1988.
John Slater, ‘The History of Art. Use or Abuse of the Past,’ December 1993. [Essay].
John Slater, Teaching in the New Europe, Council of Europe, Cassell, London and New York 1995.
2. One of the papers at a conference organised by the education committee of The National Council for Women of Great Britain, in London on 3 March 1984. John’s paper follows a two-page address by Rt Hon Sir Keith Joseph, MP, the Secretary of State for Education, followed by almost three pages of questions to Sir Keith.
Art/History + Building and Natural Environment + Gay
133. The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought
London (1977) 1999
Author: Alan Bullock and Stephen Trombley
Alan Bullock, Baron Bullock (1914- 2004) was a British historian, who wrote an influential biography of Adolf Hitler, The Humanist Tradition in the West (1985), and The Life and Times of Ernest Bevin, a three-volume biography of British Labour Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, who had a similar background to Bullock, and was a colleague of John’s. The Harper Dictionary of Modern Thought (1977) was a project he suggested to the publisher when he found he could not define the word hermeneutics. I use this book frequently and find it most understandable. There sadly seems to be no intention to develop a more current edition.
134. Sound and Space in Renaissance Venice: Architecture, Music, Acoustics
Yale University Press
2009, and CD (Architettura e Musica nella Venezia del Rinascimento, 2002)
Author: Deborah Howard with Laura Moretti
Professor Howard is the consummate architectural historian of Venice, and her Architectural History of Venice is concise and beautifully written. Her work on the extent of the Islamic culture profoundly embedded in the fabric of Venice, the subject of a major exhibitiion, in which aspects were explored by other scholars in more detail, was a revelation to me, and Sound and Space in Renaissance Venice, researched in situ with a choir and accioustic engineers, is a fascinating and salutary conjunction of architectural history, science and music, only enabled by the interdisciplinary resources of such a great university as Cambridge.
Deborah Howard, MA PhD FBA FSA FSA Scot Hon FRIAS FRSE is Professor of Architectural History in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art, and a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. She was Head of Department of History of Art from 2002-9. A graduate of Cambridge and of the Courtauld Institute of Art, she taught at University College London, Edinburgh University and the Courtauld, before returning to Cambridge in 1992.
She has taught at Yale, Harvard (the Aga Khan program and the Villa I Tatti), the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, Princeton, and the Universities of Melbourne and Queensland.
in natural habitat.
Her research is the art and architecture of Venice and the Veneto; music and architecture in the Renaissance; and the relationship between Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean and presently, of scientific inventions by architects and others in Venice 1550-1610.
In 2005 she established the Centre for Acoustic and Musical Experiments in Renaissance Architecture (CAMERA) in the Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge. In 2011 with her husband, Malcolm Longair, she completed the ascent of all the ‘Munros’, the 283 highest mountains in Scotland.
In summary, she is the most creatively cross-cultural of historians, utilising the resources of a great university to work in her research projects with, eg: Islamicists, Accoustics Engineers and musicologists.
I once shared a train journey back to London with her: unforgettable!
And several others by Howard, including:
Deborah Howard, Architectural History of Venice, Yale University Press, New Haven & London (1980) revised and enlarged 2002.
Deborah Howard, Venice & the East. The Impact of the Islamic World on Venetian Architecture 1100–1500, Yale University Press, New Haven & London 2000.
Deborah Howard, Jacopo Sansovino: Architecture and Patronage in Renaiassance Venice (1975) 1987.
Deborah Howard, Scottish Architecture from the Reformation to the Restoration 1560-1660 (1995).
Deborah Howard, Venice and the East: The Impact of the Islamic World on Venetian Architecture 1100-1500 (2000).
135. Peter Eisenman's House VI: The Client's Response
New York 1994
Authors: Suzanne Frank and Kenneth Frampton
This is a rare book written by a client about the behaviour of an architect and the performance of his design; about professional inexperience; and of the predominance of theory over function and buildability.
In 1967 Peter Eisenman (b 1932-) began a series of house designs, termed cardboard architecture (a term which for other architects would be pejorative), due to their thin white walls and appearing model-like, through which he explored the implications of his theories, embodying what he termed deep structure, to explore the notion of visual syntax. Their complexity came from language and semiotics, derived from Noam Chomsky (b1928-).
These designs consist of a grid plan and a structure of thin round columns on which were layered planes. They were referred to by numbers, rather than client name (House I (1967) to House X (1982)), each had an explanatory text. That an observer needed a text to understand architecture was debated. They generated two books: House X (1982) and Houses of Cards (1987), the latter dealing with House I - VI.
House VI, Great Hollow Road, near Bird's Eye Brook, Cornwall, Connecticut (opposite Mohawk Mountain Ski Area), USA, [ ] designed for clients Richard and Suzanne Frank in the mid 1970s, was only Eisenman’s second built work. It confounds expectations of structure and function. Suzanne Frank was initially sympathetic and patient with Eisenman's theories and demands. She even accepted sleeping apart from her husband when a grid line split their double bed into two. The architecture is strictly plastic, bearing no relationship either to construction techniques, or purely ornamental form. So the function of the building was intentionally ignored, not fought against. Eisenman grudgingly permitted a few compromises, such as a bathroom.
But after years of repairs and rebuilding to the poorly detailed, badly specified and unsupervised house. The cost both broke the Franks' budget then consumed their life savings. In this book Frank quite reasonably struck back, by describing both the building’s problems and virtues. She gives Eisenman right of reply, and Frampton adjudicates.1
Theory + Built and Natural Environment
136. On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain
Author: Edward Said
I admired Edward Said (1935-2003), the late Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, New York, where his research assistant was Louise Adler, completing her MA and M Phil.
Adler is CEO, Melbourne University Publishing, President Australian Booksellers Association, Deputy Chair Book Industry Collaborative Council, Deputy Chancellor Monash University, Director of Monash’s South African Campus, Chair of MLC, Director Melbourne International Arts Festival, Director ACCA, Member National Cultural Policy Reference Group and married to Max Gillies for 30 years with two children.
One of the first books she published was for Dr John Slater, qv.
I have and read several of Said’s books and always read his essays in the LRB. He is said to represent the post-structuralist left in the USA, and I only gradually came to realize that he was the most articulate and visible advocate of the Palestinian cause in the United States, where it earned him many enemies from the Zionist right. He was close to Yasser Arafat until they disagreed over the Oslo Peace Accords.
He founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with Israeli citizen Daniel Barenboim in 1999, which grew out of their friendship and their belief that art, in particular Wagner, transcending political ideology. With Said's assistance, Barenboim gave master classes for Palestinian students in the occupied West Bank, infuriating the Israeli right.
Said was born in Jerusalem into a prosperous Palestinian family. His father Wadie, a Christian, had immigrated to the USA.
I still have not read his most influential book, Orientalism (1978), which helped change the direction of several disciplines by exposing an unholy alliance between the Enlightenment and colonialism. As a thoroughly secular humanist, his critique on the great tradition of the western Enlightenment seemed to be self-contradictory, using a humanist discourse to attack the high cultural traditions of humanism itself, potentially supporting fundamentalists who oppose any criticism of their tradition or texts, while questioning the integrity of critical research into culturally sensitive areas like Islam.
Yet Orientalism appeared at the right time, enabling ambitious academics from non-western countries, many from families who had benefited from colonialism, to take advantage of the mood of political correctness it helped to engender, by adopting ‘narratives of oppression,’ and representations of the non-western ‘other.’
Said's writings on English literature, such as Culture And Imperialism (1993), and on western classical music1, drew heavily on his sense of being an outsider. He drew attention in art to unstated political dimensions in the knowledge that art must always escape enlistment for partisan ends. About Wagner's anti-Semitism, he quoted, with approval, Pierre Boulez's remark that ‘Wagner's music, by its very existence, refuses to bear the ideological message that it is intended to convey.’
Yet he did not consider that the hidden political agendas and attitudes of cultural supremacy that he regarded as informing the canons of western culture from Dante to Flaubert necessarily diminished their artistic integrity or cultural power.
I was fascinated by his conception of Late Style as the expression of serenity, composure, harmony and reconciliation; but also of contrariness, alienated intransigence, difficulty, obscurity and unresolved contradictions, waywardness, awkwardness and stylistic eccentricity; thus the abandonment of communication and unity, as if in concentrated summary when realising one is ‘out of time.’ It is found in the late works of, eg: Beethoven, Genet and Visconti.
Versatile and subtle, he was perceptive at elucidating distinctions. Unfortunately, Said does not discuss the visual arts (except Visconti), not to mention architecture. I had hoped to apply this approach to John, but his dementia set in.2
Edward Said, Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography, Harvard University Press, 1968. [Not held].
Edward Said, Orientalism, Pantheon Books, New York 1979.
Edward Said, Out of Place: A Memoir, Knoff, New York 1999.
Edward Said, edited by Moustafa Bayoumi and Andrew Rubin, The Edward Said Reader, Vintage Books, New York 2000.
Gauri Viswanathan, edited and with an introduction, Power, Politics, and Culture: Interviews with Edward W Said, Pantheon Books, New York 2001.
Edward Said, Foreword by Tony Judt, afterword by Wadie E Said, From Oslo to Iraq and the Road Map, Pantheon Books, London 2003.
David Barsamian, Culture and Resistance: Conversations With Edward W Said, South End Press, New York 2003.
Edward Said, Music at the Limits, Columbia University Press, New York 2008.
And several other books by Said.
2. Malise Ruthven, ‘Obituary. Edward Said. Controversial literary critic and bold advocate of the Palestinian cause in America,’ The Guardian, Friday 26 September 2003.
Theory + Built and Natural Environment
137. Istanbul, Memories of a City
Author: Orhan Pamuk
Orhan Pamuk (b1952-) is a Turkish novelist, screenwriter, academic and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Istanbul1, he is Robert Yik-Fong Tam Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, where he teaches comparative literature and writing. I read this book before visiting Istanbul and it set the atmosphere.
Other books by Pamuk include:
Orhan Pamuk, The White Castle, Carcanet Press Limited, Manchester 1990. [Not held].
Orhan Pamuk, The Black Book, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York 1994 (new translation by Maureen Freely) 2006. [Not held].
Orhan Pamuk, The New Life, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York 1997. [Not held].
Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red, Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2001. [Not held].
Orhan Pamuk, Snow, Alfred A Knopf, New York 2004. [Not held].
Orhan Pamuk, The Museum of Innocence [or Masumiyet Müzesi], Alfred A. Knopf, New York (2008, in Turkish) 2009. [Not held].
Orhan Pamuk, Other Colors: Essays and a Story, Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2007. [Not held].
Orhan Pamuk, The Naive and Sentimental Novelist, Harvard University Press, 2010. [Not held].
Orhan Pamuk, The Innocence of Objects. The Museum of Innocence, Istanbul, Abrams, New York 2012.
Maureen Freely, Pamuk’s translator since 2004, is the daughter of John Feely, qv.
Pamuk’s novels are set in the Istanbul district of Nișantași. He has established a physical Museum of Innocence, based on the museum in the novel, in a building in Çukurcuma, Beyoğlu, Istanbul, displaying a collection evocative of everyday life and culture of Istanbul during the period in which the novel is set.
It opened in April 2012, at Çukurcuma Caddesi, Dalgıç Çıkmazı, 2, 34425, Beyoğlu, İstanbul. 00 90 212 252 97 38 www.masumiyetmuzesi.org, firstname.lastname@example.org,
1. Orhan Pamuk, Personal History, “The Pamuk Apartments,” The New Yorker, March 7, 2005, p. 34, www.newyorker.com
Istanbul + Built and Natural Environment
138. Ten Canonical Buildings 1950-2000
Rizzoli International Publications Inc.
New York 2008
Author: Peter Eisenman
This book demonstrates the other extreme of my love-hate relation with Eisenman, than in the Suzanne Frank book above. I have never seen a building by him because his Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin (2005), was just a building site when last I was in Berlin, and so I cannot have a well-formed view of his built work.
This, however, is a fascinating anaysis, with some similarity to the Paul van der Ree and Clemens Steenbergen books discussed above. Some of the buildings I was previously unfamiliar with. It would be interesting to apply the same approach to, say, Robin Boyd’s 290 Walsh Street.
Peter Eisenman (b 1932-) is a USA architect, formalist and deconstructive with fragmenting of forms and a storied relationship and collaborations with post-structuralist thinker Jacques Derrida. Eisenman has written about comparative formal analyses, the emancipation and autonomization of the discipline and histories of architects including: Giuseppe Terragni, Andrea Palladio, Le Corbusier and James Stirling.
Peter Eisenman, Giuseppe Terragni: Transformations, Decompositions, Critiques, The Monacelli Press, New York 2003. [Not held].
Peter Eisenman, The Formal Basis of Modern Architecture, (Cambridge 1963), Lars Müller Publishers, Baden 2006, and other books by Eisenman. [Not held].
139. Gunyah, Goondie + Wurley: The Aboriginal architecture of Australia
University of Queensland Press1
Author: Paul Memmott
I long knew of aboriginal stone circles, stone fish-traps, and light temporary shelters, but I had often wondered whether any aboriginals build permanent substantial buildings with interiors as the Maori did. This major study comprehensively answers that question.
Professor Paul Memmott, BArch (Hons), PhD Qld, FRAIA, FAAS, is a multi-disciplinary researcher, both architect and anthropologist, and Director of the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre (or AERC). He has half-positions in the School of Architecture and the Institute for Social Science Research (or ISSR).
His research in the 1970s, centered on the new discipline of person-environment relations and the use of space and place by Aboriginal people, into the social anthropology of Aboriginal Australia. His doctorate was ‘Properties of Place of the Lardil people of the Wellesley Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria.’
By 1980 he was practising in settlement planning, social planning, strategic and management planning, social issue analysis, Aboriginal social organisation and land tenure based on the key role Aboriginal people play as consultants and fieldwork operatives. His interests include Aboriginal housing and settlement design, Aboriginal access to institutional architecture, Indigenous constructs of place and culture.2
Architectural History + Built and Natural Environment
140. Gaudi Unseen. Completing the Sagrada Familia
Editor: Mark Burry, et al
Burry first visited the Temple Sagrada Família in Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain in 1979 and met Lluis Bonet Gari and Isidre Puig Boada, who had worked with Gaudi, and by then in both their 90s.
Burry had asked: What was the authority to continue with Gaudi's work?; And how did they convey instructions to the builders?
In answer to the first question the architect directors showed Burry dusty boxes of shattered plaster of Paris models for the church nave - smashed to pieces by anti- clerical anarchists who attacked the church in 1936, burning Gaudi's workshop. They asked whether Burry might like to help piecing together the Sagrada Familia jigsaw.
He is still executive architect and researcher at the Sagrada Família.
I was at Sagrada Familia six years before Bury, in 1973, but with my usual timidity, talked to no-one.
Charles Jencks placed Gaudi as the most significant architect of the C20, ahead of Le Corbusier.
This fascinating and rational book, accompanying an exhibition, convinced me of Gaudi’s greatness.
Also: Jane Burry and Mark Burry, The New Mathematics of Architecture, Thames & Hudson, London 2010.
Architectural History + Built and Natural Environment
141. The Periodic Table
Primo Levi, (Il Sistema Periodico, Einaudi, Supercoralli, Nuova serie, 1975) translator Raymond Rosenthal. Cover: Escher.
A collection of short stories, some of which are fiction, by Primo Levi (1919-87), chemist, Turin citizen, Auschwitz survivor and witness, yet profoundly tragically, also depressant and suicide. It was published in 1975, named after the periodic table in chemistry. In 2006, the Royal Institution of Great Britain named it the best science book ever, but it is far more than that. It is a historical record in a literary manner of great happiness, where moral power, humor and playful language blend together. As if a great teacher, Levi offers his experiences as lessons with a persuasive energy that is enlivened by levity and irony. So it is the book that reveals the force of Levi’s whole physical and moral person: whole and analysed into his prime elements, as the title suggests.
142. Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture
Yale University Press
New Haven & London 2008 (held)
Author: Cammy Brothers
Michelangelo (1475-1564), I have increasingly realised, is the greatest artist and architect ever. Like Le Corbusier and Rem Koolhaus much later, he excelled in various mediums, of which the one illuminated and nourished the other, as sculptor, painter, architect, poet and engineer, of the High Renaissance and Mannerism. Revealing great scholarship, this architectural historian analyses his architecture in the light of his sculpture and painting, but particularly his designing by drawing (appositely in Italian: designo), of his drawing as a mode of thinking, even of his unbuilt designs, which is how the greatest of subsequent architects have proceeded.
143. Twenty Minutes in Manhattan
Author: Michael Sorkin
And many other books by Sorkin.
Sorkin (b 1948-), architect, urbanist, architectural critic, writer, academic and author of 16 books and hundreds of articles. From 1993- 2000 he was Professor of Urbanism and Director of the Institute of Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. He has been professor at the Architectural Association, Columbia, Yale (holding both Davenport and Bishop Chairs), Harvard, Cornell (Gensler Chair), amongst others, and he operates Michael Sorkin Studio.
In this book he describes every aspect of the built environment that occurs to him on his short walk to work each morning from his West Village apartment to his Tribeca office. The journey begins on the apartment stairs, where Sorkin launches a history of elevators, skyways, and the challenges of making a city handicapped-accessible; then the history of wily landlords and property ownership in Manhattan; and then on the building stoop, sparking memories of Jane Jacobs and observations on neighbourly behavior.
The most consistent themes are populism and a fierce protectiveness of ‘authentic’ New York. His landlords are ‘foot soldiers’ for a system to maintain class hierarchy, and the catering tables set out for filming crews represent ‘abundance for a few, illusory trickledown for the rest; and how New York’s role as a backdrop in those films contributes to its Disneyfication, and of architecture that sets itself too self-consciously to a romanticized city past.
This book, which I chanced upon, was my introduction to Sorkin. Next I will read his Michael Sorkin, All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities, Verso, London 2011.1
New York + Built and Natural Environment
144. Our Age: Portrait of a Generation
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Author: Noel Annan
Baron Annan (1916- 2000) was a military intelligence officer during World War II, historian, author, and executive academic. He was Provost of King's College, Cambridge, Provost of University College, London, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, and a member of the House of Lords. His best-known essay is ‘The Intellectual Aristocracy,’ which illustrates the ‘web of kinship that united British intellectuals, eg: the Darwins, Huxleys, Macaulays and Stephens, in 1820-1920.
He uses his term ‘Our Age’ [ ] in a sense defined not so much by date of birth, but as it was by Maurice Bowra: ‘...anyone [in England] who came of age and went to the university in the thirty years between 1919, the end of the Great War, and 1949 (the end of the Second World War)...’ by which date all who had served in the war had returned to the university. It is the generation immediately before John’s (b 1927, but not at university until 1949; but about whose generation I do not know of an equivalent book) and some 45-20 years older than me (so my father’s generation), a cohort many of whom I greatly admire.
The generation of Our Age included: W H Auden, Freddie Ayer, Francis Bacon, Isaiah Berlin, John Betjeman, Anthony Blunt, Kenneth Clark, Cyril Connolly, Anthony Crossland, Richard Crossman, T S Elliot, E M Forster, Christopher Isherwood, Roy Jenkins, Maynard Keynes, D H Lawrence, James Lees-Milne, Harold Macmillan, Harold Nicolson, George Orwell, Nikolaus Pevsner, William Plomer, Anthony Powell, V S Pritchett, Stephen Spender, Hugh Trevor-Roper, Evelyn Waugh and Harold Wilson, most of them heroes of mine.
In England it is a small élite, into which one got by being exceptionally clever, or well-born, or usefully connected, especially with that intellectual aristocracy which occupied the commanding academic and cultural heights in a previous generation – a class upon whose constitution and habit of intermarriage the present author long ago enlightened us. It is from such a cultural establishment that he himself speaks with such a panoramic view. He is an insider.1
145. Air Guitar. Essays on Art and Democracy
Art Issues Press
Los Angeles 1997
Author: Dave Hickey
Hickey (b 1940) is a USA art and cultural critic, was introduced to me by Dave Morison, when he gave me this book. He has written for Rolling Stone, Art News, Art in America, Artforum, Harper's Magazine, and Vanity Fair. He is Professor of English at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Distinguished Professor of Criticism in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of New Mexico. He was owner-director of A Clean Well-Lighted Place, an art gallery in Austin, Texas and director of Reese Palley Gallery in New York. He has served as Executive Editor for Art in America magazine, as contributing editor to The Village Voice, as Staff Songwriter for Glaser Publications in Nashville and as Arts Editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Known for his arguments against academicism and in favor of the effects of rough-and-tumble free markets for art, ‘It's hard to find someone you love, who loves you--but you can begin, at least, by finding someone who loves your love song. And that, I realized, sitting there in the zócalo with Brownie, is what I do: I write love songs for people who live in a democracy. Some of them follow’ Is the way he introduces the book.1
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Author: Keith Richards, with James Fox
Keith is the greatest, and most archetypical rock star and this is a marvelous audacious work, full of music, including much that is obscure to me. He should curate an album of the more obscure music from this book.
147. The Five Books of Moses. A Translation with Commentary
New York 2004
Author: Robert Alter
A major work of absorbing scholarship lightly worn, with surprising wit, on what might have been a boring dissertation on a document of the foundational myth of Western culture, which I have enjoyed dipping into, learning from and referencing.
148. Encyclopedia of Australian Architecture
Cambridge University Press, with University of Melbourne
Melbourne October 2011
Authors: Philip Goad and Julie Willis
This is the first comprehensive work on Australian architecture. It is far more intelligently edited than other efforts, eg: the Encyclopedia of Melbourne, and includes entries by leading Australian scholars, academics, historians, heritage professionals and practicing architects, with 650,000 words, 227 authors, 525 images and 1007 entries. 200 were pre-sold to the USA. It is so enjoyable to browse. But there is still no history of architecture in Australia.
I contributed 3 entries: a long one on ‘Schools’ Architecture in Australia’ of 2,000 words, which was very difficult to write, as there was previously no comprehensive research on the topic, and two short entries of 500 words on the architectural firms: ‘H & A Peck’ and ‘Peck & Kemter’, which I found are unrelated.
Inexcusably, it omits Miles Lewis and Hugh O’Neill...
Goad is an Australian academic, Professor of Architecture and Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne and former President of the Victorian Chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
Professor Goad’s research is in architectural history, theory and design. He has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University, the Bartlett School of Architecture (London) and UCLA (Los Angeles). He is a former editor of Fabrications, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, and contributing editor to Architecture Australia. With Edmond and Corrigan, he was project architect for RMIT University Building 8, which is no recommendation.
P Goad, Architecture Bali: Architectures of Welcome, Pesaro Publishing, Sydney 2000.
P J. Goad, New Directions in Australian Architecture. Sydney, Australia: Pesaro Publishing 2001.
P J Goad, Judging Architecture: issues, divisions, triumphs, Victorian architecture awards 1929-2003, Royal Australian Institute of Architects, RAIA Victoria, Melbourne 2003.
P J Goad, R C Wilken & J L Willis. Australian Modern: the Architecture of Stephenson and Turner. Carlton, Australia: Miegunyah Press (Melbourne UP) 2004.
P J Goad and A D Pieris, New Directions in Tropical Asian Architecture, Pesaro Publishing, Sydney 2005.
149. The Biggest Estate on Earth. How Aborigines Made Australia
Allen & Unwin
Author: Bill Gammage
This book, one of the most significant I have read, which I discovered by chance browsing in Andrew’s bookshop. Browsing is an experience in itself an argument for the continued existance of bookshops, long before its subsequent acclaim. It radically changed my understanding of the Australian ‘natural’ environment, as being as curated for time immemorial as the park of an English country house, of how frequently that was remarked upon by settlers, and how much remains. I had not previously heard of Gammage.
Bill Gammage (b 1942-) is an Australian academic historian studying Aboriginal land management at the time of contact as Adjunct Professor at the Humanities Research Centre, at Australian National University, where he has been since leaving Wagga Wagga High School. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences and deputy chair of the National Museum of Australia.
Other Gammage books include:
Bill Gammage, The Broken Years: Australian Soldiers in the Great War, Penguin, Ringwood 1974. [Held].
Bill Gammage, Man and land: some remarks on European ideas and the Australian environment. Publication no. 64, Dept. of Continuing Education, South Australia, University of Adelaide, Adelaide 1979). Booklet. [Not held].
Bill Gammage with: Markus, Andrew. All that dirt: aborigines 1938, Canberra: History Project, Inc, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra 1982). [Not held].
Bill Gammage with Peter Spearritt, Australians, 1938. Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates Broadway New York 1987. [Not held].
Bill Gammage, David John Headon, Warden, James; (1994). Crown or country: the traditions of Australian republicanism, Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, NSW (1994) 1998. [Not held].
Bill Gammage,The Sky Travellers: Journeys in New Guinea 1938-1939, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne 1998.
150. The Hare with the Amber Eyes. A Hidden Inheritance. The Illustrated Edition
Chatto & Windus
London (2010) 2011
Author: Edmund de Waal
A family memoir by English ceramicist Edmund de Waal, who traces the story of his family the Ephrussi, who were once a very wealthy European Jewish banking dynasty in Odessa, Vienna and Paris, peers of the Rothschilds. They lost almost everything in 1938. After the war the family never recovered their property including major artworks, but an easily hidden collection of 264 Japanese netsuke that was miraculously saved, tucked inside her mattress by Anna, a loyal maid at Palais Ephrussi, Vienna.
It was inherited through five generations, providing a common thread for the story of the family from 1887-2009. De Waal is the fifth generation of the family to inherit this collection, and it is his story too. It is the story of the three rooms in which it was kept over 140 years.
The first is the study in Paris in the 1870s of the art-critic Charles Ephrussi, th in Proust e model for Charles Swann, hung with Impressionist paintings by Renoir and Degas. The second is the dressing-room of his great-grandmother Emmy von Ephrussi in the vast Palais Ephrussi on the Ringstrasse in Vienna. The third room is of her son Ignace, his great-uncle Iggie, in Tokyo in the 1970s, an apartment looking out across central Tokyo. It is most heartening to me that the penultimate owners of the Netsuke were a longstanding gay couple in Tokyo.
And other books by De Waal, include:
Edmund de Waal, 20th Century Ceramics, Thames & Hudson, London, 2003. [Paperback, not held].
Edmund de Waal, The Pot Book, Phaidon, London 2011. [Held].
A S Byatt, Peter Carey, Emma Crichton-Miller, Edmund de Waal, Toby Glanville, Alexandra Munroe, Deborah Saunt and Colm Toíbín, Edmund de Waal, Phaidon, London 2014. [Held].
151. Bridges. XXXIV Crossings of the Thames
Author: Nigel Peake
This curious, rare, beautiful and imaginative little book, is entirely hand-drawn. It visually and poetically analyses the structure, elevations and plans of the 43 bridges crossing the River Thames, from Kingston Bridge (1828), downstream to the Thames Barrier, Woolwich (1982). I almost, but not quite understand it: a nice condition for a work of art. It relates to my own consultancy work for Vic Roads in anaysing the significance of nine bridges. I would love to curate an exhibition of international images of bridges.Peake is presently in the process of making a new version.1
Nigel Peake, In the Wilds, Princeton University Press 2011.
Nigel Peake, In the City, Princeton University Press 2014.
Peake, Nigel, drawings, words: Claire Beaumont, Cycling Climbs. Twenty Art Prints, Laurence King, London 2015.
Nigel Peake, In the Wilds, Princeton University Press 2011.
Nigel Peake, In the City, Princeton University Press 2014.
Other Nigel Peake works include:
Wreck and Ruin
The Long Road
Animals / Anatomy
Fact and Fiction
Broken Camera Club
London + Built and Natural Environment
152. The New York Nobody Knows. Walking 6,000 Miles in the City
Princeton University Press
Princeton and Oxford, 2013
Author: William B Helmreich
Heinreich, professor of sociology at the City University Graduate Centre (or CUNY) and City College, New York, walked along every street in New York, over four years, and assisted by extensive background reading, and his prior personal knowledge of the city, observed its social interactions and cultural behaviors, including: identity, play, ethnicity, gentrification, and use of space: outside, and inside buildings. Where he could, and spoke with the hundreds of people he encountered, and did not flinch from any danger. New York had never previously been systematically studied as a whole by sociologists, or even any of the five boroughs studied as a unit, only at a community level.
The only way to do that is to immerse oneself in the place, using the ethnographic method of direct observation, and even participation. There was a very sniffy review of this book in the New Statesman, perhaps sour grapes that it had never been attempted for London. Perhaps the work of Mass Observation, the UK social research organisation founded in 1937 until c1965, but revived in 1981, comes closest, and my friend and colleague Ken Hunter had done something related, in his visiting every one of the 5,000 London pubs, and like Helmreich, shading in the street map squares as he ‘did’ them.
This is not a travelogue, but a thematic analysis, with numerous examples, written in an accessible, even vernacular, style. It has a remarkable 36-page, small font, bibliography of urban sociology, though there is no detailed mapping.1
New York + Built and Natural Environment
153. The Field Guide to Typography. Typefaces in the Urban Landscape
Thames & Hudson
Author: Peter Dawson
Just as it claims to be, this fascinating handbook identifies precisely the 125 most common fonts visible to the flaneur, from public transport liveries to computer fonts, from billboard hoardings to road signage in Europe and USA. Each is accompanied by identification characteristics and a ‘Not to be confused with’ heading as a cross-reference to similar typefaces. It explains the origin, usage and features of each.
Peter Dawson co-founded his practice, Grade, in 2000 and is a former Chair of the International Society of Typographic Designers.
Design + Building and Natural Environment
154. Art and Homosexuality. A History of Ideas
Author: Christopher Reed
This offers a wide-ranging discussion of art and homosexuality while narrating the fascinating evolution of their symbiotic relationship in 175 illustrations. It spans from ancient to contemporary cultures worldwide including in painting, sculpture, photography and writing, and beautifully produced.
155. The New Jerusalem. Planning and Politics
Thames & Hudson
Author: Arthur Kutcher
Another book I stumbled upon whilst browsing. It offers a comprehensive analysis of the topography, urban morphology, historic evolution and spiritual symbolism of this city, its panoramic views, and the implications of development proposals, all depicted through the author’s extraordinary line drawings of a city I have never been to.
156. The View from the Train: Cities and Other Landscapes
Author: Patrick Keiller
AKeiller is one of my heroes, in his depicting and analysing my life’s absorption, since the age of nine, with wandering and looking at the urban environment, an absorption I first attempted to describe in a talk to Dr Adrian Danks’s RMIT University Media Studies Students, entitled The Juvenile Flaneur.
Keiller characterizes the frame-by-frame view from a railway carriage window as cinematic, and assiduously analyses other links between the two technological experiences.
This collection of essays is arranged in chronological order over some thirty years (1982-2010), and provides a view of Keiller’s (b1950-) career trajectory, but now gives a strong sense of the highly evolved criticality that has always underpinned it. Keiller’s distinctive essayistic voice allows you to be caught up in his internal argument about the legitimacy of the central idea of his lifetime’s project.
It absorbs, he asserts, ‘the tradition of literary urbanism – if one can call it that – which includes De Quincey, Poe, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Apollinaire, Aragon, Benjamin and Bataille – became highly influential in the architectural culture of the 1970s, so much so that many of these writers’ texts are now required reading for shopping mall designers.’
Keiller is also influenced by Henri Lefebvre, who was ‘particularly scathing’ about the Surrealists’ postwar revolutionary detumescence, and it is Lefebvre – who also thought of his own life and work as a single co-extensive ‘project’, and whose intellect was deep in the facts and-statistics of social history, whose spirit, both rhapsodic and practical, animates Keiller’s.
Well Self reassuringly perceives that the essays amply demonstrate how it is possible for the individual, subject to the current dispensation, to take control of their own means of spatial production.1
Keiller’s films include:
The End (1986),
The Clouds (1989).
London (1994, held).
Robinson in Space [1997, held].
The Dilapidated Dwelling, with the voice of Tilda Swinton, was made for television in 2000, but never broadcast,
Robinson in Ruins 2010. [Film and book, both held],
Both London and Robinson in Space are narrated by an unnamed character (mellifuously voiced by Paul Scofield), who accompanies his friend and onetime lover, the unseen Robinson, on a series of excursions around London. Robinson is involved with research into the problem of London and, in the later film, across England. The films form a critique of the United Kingdom's economic landscape under the Conservative governments of 1979-97.
Robinson in Ruins was one of the outcomes of Keiller’s 3-year research project at the Royal College of Art, entitled The Future of Landscape and the Moving Image, on the absorption and processing of much economic and social data, and can be described – despite Keiller’s own uneasiness about the term – as ‘psychogeography’.
The Robinson Institute, was the booklet of an exhibition at Tate Britain, Patrick Keiller The Robinson Institute, Exhibition, Tate Britain Commission 2012, 27 March -14 October 2012. [Catalogue held].
1. Will Self, ‘The Frisson,’ LRB, 20 January 2014, www.lrb.co.uk
Landscape + Built and natural environment
157. Studies in Tectonic Culture. The Poetics of Construction Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture
The MIT Press
Author: Kenneth Frampton, edited by John Cave
A view of the modern architectural tradition as a constructional craft, challenging the current mainstream view of the visual limits of post-Modernism and work that has passed for avant- garde. For Frampton, modern architecture is invariably as much about materiality, structure and construction details as it is about space and abstracted form.
Frampton offers close readings of French and German, and English sources from the C18 to now, and analyses the work of such architects as Perret, Wright, Kahn, Scarpa, and Mies. Frampton also considers the work of Perret, Mies, and Kahn and their continuities in thought and attitudes linking them to the past. Not having preciously read Frampton, I found this approach revelatory and sensible. Refer also, above: Suzanne Frank and Kenneth Frampton, Peter Eisenman's House VI: The Client's Response, Watson-Guptil Publications, New York 1994.
158. Questions of Perception. Phenomenology of Architecture
A+U Publishing Co Ltd
Author: Steven Holl, Juhani Pallasmaa and Alberto Pérez-Gómez
Holl graduated from the University of Washington and as did Robert Venturi, he pursued architecture studies in Rome in 1970, in the American School, three years before I arrived there. In 1976, he was at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and established his office in New York. He leads his 40-person office with partners Chris McVoy and Noah Yaffe, and has taught at Columbia University since 1981. Holl's architecture has undergone a shift in emphasis, from his earlier concern with typology to his present phenomenological approach (as has Kenneth Frampton, qv); a concern for existentialist, bodily engagement with surroundings. The shift came from his interest in the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-61) and architect-theorist Juhani Pallasmaa (1936-, Finland).
Steven Holl: Educating our Perception, in “Magic Materials II”, Daidalos, August 1995.
Steven Holl: Pamphlet Architecture 1-10, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1998.
Steven Holl: The Chapel of St.Ignatius, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1999.
Steven Holl: Parallax, Birkhäuser, New York, 2000.
Steven Holl: Architecture Spoken, Rizzoli, New York, 2007. [Held].
Steven Holl: House - Black Swan Theory, Princeton Architectural Press, New York 2007. [Held].
Steven Holl: Urbanisms: Working with Doubt, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2009.
Steven Holl: Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, 2011.
Steven Holl: Scale, Lars Mueller Publishers, 2012.
Steven Holl: Color, Light and Time, with essays by Sanford Kwinter and Jordi Safont-Tria, Lars Mueller Publishers, 2012. [Held].
Christoph Kumpusch,editor, Urban Hopes: Made in China by Steven Holl, Lars Mueller Publishers, 2013. [Held].
Design Theory + Built and natural environment
159. Inventing the Individual, The Origins of Western Liberalism
Allen Lane, Penguin Books
London 2014. [Held].
Author: Larry Siedentop
In an interpretative narrative (rather than primary scholarship) spanning 1,800 years of European history from the severely patriarchal prehistoric world before the emergence of communal life, until the Renaissance, gradually displacing the power of the family, tribe, and caste as the basis of social organization. He firmly rejects Western liberalism’s usual account of itself: as emerging in opposition to religion in the Renaissance. Siedentop emphasises religion, rather than property (or business) as a motive force.
He draws on sources new to me he calls his heroes, the historians: Eustrel de Coulanges (1830-89, author of The Ancient City: A Study of the Religion, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome, New York, 1864?), Francois Guizot (1787-1874, French historian, orator, and statesman), Brian Tierney (b 1922-, historian of church history and medievalist), Harold Berman (1918-2007, legal schiolar at Harvard and Emory universities, author of Law and Revolution. The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition, 2 vols, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1983) and Peter Brown (author of The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, AD 200-1000, 2nd edn, Oxford, 2010, 23rd edn, Oxford, 2013). He also mentions his friendship with Isaiah Berlin (1909-97), who supervised his D Phil.
Siedentop argues that liberal thought developed from the Christian Church. Beginning with a moral revolution in the first centuries AD, when the concept of equality and human agency were first formulated by St Paul (c5-c67), he follows these concepts in Christianity from St Augustine (354-430, early Christian theologian and philosopher) to the philosophers and canon lawyers of the C14 and 15, and in William of Ockham (1288-1347, English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian), the emergence of the monastic orders, and ends with their re-emergence in secularism, also derived from Western Christianity.
The roots of liberalism: belief in individual freedom, in the moral equality of individuals, in a legal system based on equality of all, and in a representative form of government for a society of free people, were all pioneered by Christian thinkers of the Middle Ages and derived from the early Church. These philosophers and canon lawyers he claims, not the Renaissance humanists, laid the foundation for liberal democracy in the West.
For me, he radically rehabilitates St Paul, emphasising his claims for the centrality of the individual, universal moral equality from slaves to kings, and wonders whether Paul was the greatest revolutionary in Western thought. For someone as me, imbued by Sir Joseph Burke, John Slater and my European study tours with the pre-eminence Renaissance Humanism and the C18 Enlightenment, and the view that St Paul had recast Jesus as the Christ, and institutionalized and regulated the Church, Siedentop’s intellectual narrative came as a revelation of the source of the moral depth of the western Christian tradition. I should now read:
Larry Siedentop, Democracy in Europe, 2001. ISBN 978-0231123778.
And of course, in the Holy Bible, I should re-read the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s Letters.
160. The Angel of History. Rosenzweig, Benjamin, Scholem
Stanford University Press
Stanford, California (in French 1992) 2009
Author: Stéphane Mosès, translated: Barbara Harshav
Center: Walter Benjamin
Right: Gershom (Gerhardt) Scholem
This work of theological analysis I read immediately following Howard Eiland and Michael W Jennings, Walter Benjamin. A Critical Life, The Bellknap Press, of the Harvard University Press, Cambridge Maassachusetts 2014.
Howard Caygill, Alex Coles,and Andrzej Klinowski, with Richard Apignanersi, Walter Benjamin for Beginners, Icon Books, Cambridge, 1998. Caygill is a great Benjamin scholar so this comic book is surprisingly incisive.
From 1920s Berlin, the three protaganists proposed a new version of history, beyond both assimilation (of Judaism) and the Enlightenment’s narrative of progress and causality, which had been followed, eg: by Pevsner, qv, It was influenced by concepts of utopianism and messianism (preparedness for the messiah who might come unanounced at any moment, imparting redemption and a new hope in present utopia), and of the Jewish facing of catastrophe, deception and failure. Kafka is the fourth figure haunting this work.
Scholem was a philosopher of mystic Judaism (or Kabbalah), was disheartened by present (in the 1920s) Judaic secularism, and of Zionism’s determination to enter the stage of history.
Benjamin saw history as incident, not causal evolution. Scholem was his principal intellectual correspondant and lifelong friend from when Benjamin was 17 and Scholem 23, despite their wide differences, especially when Scholem emigrated to Palestine, and Benjamin remaind tragically, fatally, rooted in Berlin and Paris. Later Scholem edited Benjamin’s correspondance, which is another of the 10 books related to Benjamin that I have.
Franz Rosenzweig, 1886-1929, was a Jewish theologian and philosopher who wrote of his vision of history in The Star of Redemption, 1918-19, arguably the greatest work of Modern Jewish philosophy. Due to the influence of a close friendship in Leipzig with a young lecturer in jurisprudence, Eugen Rosenstock, he came near to converting to Christianity.
Benjamin owned and was inspired by Paul Klee’s painting depicting what he saw as the Angel of History, depicted as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. His face is turned toward the past. Where we might see a chain of events, Benjamin sees one single catastrophe, which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet.
The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress. This interpretation of the angel by Benjamin has led to it becoming an icon of the left.
This conceptual world was new to me but it went towards explaining my friend Dr John Slater’s skepticism about progress.
Architectural theorists often cite Benjamin's most famous essays "The Task of the Translator" (1923) and "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1936) and The Arcades Project (Passagenwerk, 1927–40, 1982), his final, incomplete book about Parisian city life in the C19 and the culture of flânerie. I own this work, but have not yet read it.
In Benjamin's Modernist writing style, sentences do not originate ordinarily, do not progress into one another, and delineate no obvious line of reasoning, as if each sentence ‘...had to say everything, before the inward gaze of total concentration dissolved the subject before his eyes.’ Susan Sontag, Under the Sign of Saturn, p 129.