The Critical Eye by Guido Ballo

The Critical Eye by Guido Ballo lands on the shelves of my shop.

Heinemann, 1969, Hardback in dust wrapper.

Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Colour Photographs; Black & White Plates; Colour Drawings;

From the cover: Everyone, however uninformed, feels qualified to give their opinion of a work of art: I could do better than that myself, Its a masterpiece, That isnt art”; but how can one be sure that ones own idiosyncrasies of taste and character are not obstructing ones judgement, that one isnt using easy catch-phrases or being influenced by what is fashionable, that it isnt lack of knowledge which prevents one from really appreciating certain works of art ? If the yardstick is simply personal preference, how is it that Impressionism and Byzantine mosaics could not be appreciated in their time; that painters of such stature as Giotto, Titian and Raphael could be so disprized at some epochs ? And why is modern art so incomprehensible to the general public?

To answer such questions properly it is necessary to understand not only the historical context of art, and the limitations and discoveries of each age, but also to school ones own eye to the purely critical. One must recognize the roles of rhythm, form, movement and proportion in great art, admit to the psychological factors which can interfere with appreciation.

With the help of this clear and beautifully illustrated book Guido Ballo sets out to do just this to lay aside the prejudices and ill-thought-out preconceptions which prevent us from viewing works of art with a truly critical eye. He takes us from the earliest days of art right up to the most confusing time of all, the present day, and his book is a very necessary and important one, written for the general reader but invaluable also to art students.

Good+ in Good+ Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper. Spine squared. Leans slightly. Edges of the text block lightly tanned. Text complete, clean and tight.

Blue boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 291 pages. Index. Bibliography. 9″ x 6″.

Of course, if you don’t like this one there are plenty more available here!

Easter Eggs: A Collector’s Guide by Victor Houart

Easter Eggs: A Collector’s Guide by Victor Houart lands on the shelves of my shop.

Souvenir Press, 1978, Hardback in dust wrapper.

Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Colour Photographs;

From the cover: Easter Eggs are a comparatively new field for the collector- but Easter Eggs themselves have origins far beyond the Christian festival they have marked for a thousand years. For as Victor Houart points out in this, the first comprehensive guide to Easter Eggs through the ages, the egg is a symbol of the mystery of lifes renewal as old as human culture itself.

The author traces the development of the humble vegetable-dyed eggs hidden by villagers all over Europe even to this day for their children to find on Easter morning, to the magnificent jewel-encrusted creations of Faberge for the Tsar of all the Russias. He describes rare ornamented ostrich eggs preserved in French churches since the middle ages; eggs painted by Boucher, Watteau and Lancret for the 17th-century French court, surprise eggs, containing miniature pastoral scenes of the 18th century; enameled and gold and jeweled eggs, first produced in Paris and later in 19th-century Russia for the Imperial family.

And parallel with this court tradition, the author finds another, the folk tradition of decorating eggs by hand that still survives in Russia (especially in the Ukraine) in Hungary and Rumania and Poland to this day. This tradition perhaps reached its climax in the magnificent 19th-century papier-mâché eggs made in Russia with their rich, glowing colours and folk-rooted designs.

Easter Eggs not only describes the processes by which all these eggs are made but helps the collector to identify place and period of origin. It also places the ancient tradition of the Easter egg in the setting of the folk traditions of the spring in Europe and the Middle East from which the eggs still draw their own unique meaning.

Lavishly illustrated with a series of brilliant plates in colour and black-and-white, this is a book to be treasured and enjoyed.

Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. Price Clipped. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper with some short, closed, tears. Pages very gently age-tanned.

Black boards with Silver titling to the Spine. 128 pages. 8¾” x 7″.

Of course, if you don’t like this one there are plenty more available here!

Across The Roof Of The World by Wilfred Skrede

Across The Roof Of The World by Wilfred Skrede lands on the shelves of my shop.

The Travel Book Club, 1954, Hardback in dust wrapper.

Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Maps to the endpapers and blanks;

From the cover: A lone figure wandering in the vastness of Asia, Wilfred Skrede, a young Norwegian, saw many strange things which few from the West have ever seen.

He was no explorer accompanied by the equipment and porters of a great expedition, but a young man in wartime making his way as best he could to Little Norway in Canada across Russia and Turkestan, over the Himalayas, on to India and from there to Singapore and around the Cape of Good Hope.

Crippled and exhausted, but with mind alert, he journeyed along the tracks where once thundered the hordes of Ghenghis Khan and where centuries ago slowly moved the caravans on the route from far Cathay. In the Mintaka Pass, high in the Himalayas, his only signposts were the skeletons of men and innumerable horses that had perished along the way, their powdering bones vanishing in the winds of Time

Skrede was truly a man from another world treated often with hostility, indifference, even brutality and sometimes with unexpected kindness by people whose language he could not speak. Through every adventure and he had many his youthful resilience enabled him to laugh at himself, his sense of humour helped him to see hope where others might have seen none, but even he, with youth and hope on his side, was sometimes overwhelmed by unbearable loneliness. The miracle is that he ever survived to tell his story.

Good in Poor Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with several short tears and a little loss. Gently bruised at the head, tail and corners of the binding. Pages lightly age-tanned.

Green boards with Black titling to the Spine. 255 pages. 8″ x 5¼”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one there are plenty more available here!

Time Well Spent by Evelyn Cheesman

Time Well Spent by Evelyn Cheesman lands on the shelves of my shop.

The Travel Book Club, 1960, Hardback in dust wrapper.

From the cover: Victorian modesty, British understatement and the ruthless realism of both Elizabethan ages go to the make-up of Evelyn Cheesman. She has made many single-handed journeys to the islands inhabited by gentle Polynesians and violent Papuans and has perceived, with something of a divine sympathy, how these races think and feel. She has pursued with unfaltering industry and unflagging enthusiasm her quest for insects to enlarge the scientific knowledge of mankind.

Miss Cheesman writes a remarkable story, this time focussing her attention rather on the sidelights than the highlights of her explorations; the enchanting backwaters of the main stream of adventure. Here are the small, sharp, individual incidents which pin-point the work of an entomologist in the field: the illuminating difficulties of riding a horse up a mountain, the services in a remote church, the difficulties of obtaining clothes for work and play.

Good+ in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with a little soiling overall, a mark to the top corner of the upper panel. Gently bruised at the head, tail and corners of the binding. Edges of the text block lightly spotted. Pages lightly age-tanned, heaving to the blanks.

Blue boards with Black titling to the Spine. 224 pages. 8¾” x 5¾”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one there are plenty more available here!

The Red Snows: An Account of the British Caucasus Expedition, 1958 by Sir John Hunt & Christopher Brasher

The Red Snows: An Account of the British Caucasus Expedition, 1958 by Sir John Hunt & Christopher Brasher lands on the shelves of my shop.

The Travel Book Club, 1960, Hardback in dust wrapper.

From the cover: Five years after they first made application, a party of British mountaineers was given permission to climb in Soviet territory. Among them were Sir John Hunt, leader of the successful Everest expedition, and Christopher Brasher, Olympic athlete turned mountaineer.

Now their story of their visit to the picturesquely, and literally, named red snows of the Caucasus will fascinate all their fellow-mountaineers and everyone else as well who is looking for an unfamiliar view of modern Russia.

Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded. Leans slightly. Edges of the text block lightly spotted.

Green boards with Black titling to the Spine. 176 pages. Index. 8½” x 5½”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one there are plenty more available here!

Corsair Country: The Diary of a Journey Along the Barbary Coast by Xan Fielding

Corsair Country: The Diary of a Journey Along the Barbary Coast by Xan Fielding lands on the shelves of my shop.

The Travel Book Club, 1959, Hardback in dust wrapper.

From the cover: Mr. Fielding started on his journey from Tangier to Tripoli determined to re-discover the harbours and towns of the Barbary Coast pirates, to find what was left of the descendants of those ruthless and inspired sailors who terrorized the maritime nations of Europe for three centuries. But as he travelled eastwards from Morocco to Algiers and Tunis and on to the beginnings of the Libyan desert he found himself turning over the stones of history more ancient than that of the Corsairs the history of Europes struggle with Africa, of the perennial Christian crusade against the monolithic intransigence of Islam.

Corsair Country is the chronicle of a modern travellers journey which became a voyage from which has sprung all that is distinctively Latin and Christian in our civilization.

Good+ in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn, faded and somewhat grubby overall. Gently bruised at the head of the spine and the top corners of the boards with commensurate wear to the dust wrapper. Edges of the text block lightly spotted. Text complete, clean and tight but a little age-tanned.

Pale Blue boards with Black titling to the Spine. 232 pages. Index. 8″ x 5¼”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one there are plenty more available here!

The Jungle And The Damned by Hassoldt Davis

The Jungle And The Damned by Hassoldt Davis lands on the shelves of my shop.

The Travel Book Club, 1954, Hardback in dust wrapper.

Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Maps [1];

From the cover: This is the true story of the Hassoldt Davis exploration of French Guiana, inland from St. Laurent to the Tumuc Humac mountains of the Brazilian border. He was accompanied by his wife, who combined the roles of honeymooner and expedition photographer. The first stop before the 300-mile trek along the Maroni River was Devils Island and the penal settlements of Cayenne. The reader cannot but be touched by the stories Mr. Davis has to tell of life among the condemned, where good and bad are mingled as in the world outside. The main part of the book is concerned with the Maroni River exploratory journey, and the author describes the fantastic plant and animal life of this region (some of it, in fact, still unexplored) and the hardly less fantastic tribes who inhabit it. There were, for instance, the bisexual Rouccuyennes, the unseen Oyaricoulets who stalked the boat and left their inviting white markers or threatening red ones to comfort or alarm the travellers.

This is a fascinating book, giving a unique picture of a little-known part of the world which still retains its menace and its mystery. The superb photographs taken by the Daviss share the honours with the engrossing story.

Good+ in Poor Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with an untidy triangular nick to the spine. Edges of the text block lightly spotted. Pages lightly age-tanned.

Blue boards with Black titling to the Spine. 255 pages. 8¾” x 5½”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one there are plenty more available here!