Creative Arts Book of the Week 22/05/14

Art Deco Complete by Alistair Duncan

Reviewing books on creative arts is a delight. I am always spoilt for choice as there is currently something new appearing on our display shelves every week. This title has been sitting there for a while, probably because of its encyclopaedic proportions; but this gives me an opportunity to grab it before anyone else.

I admired this book when I saw it on Amazon and decided it would be a worthy candidate for our students; nothing to do with my personal tastes of course. And I was also updating a much smaller edition we already hold in the library.

A friend of mine who works at the V&A in London, our international museum of art and design, tells me that a colleague has a desire to lick richly illustrated books. This has stayed with me even if it is hyperbole. I would certainly like to lick its 1000 glossy images but it is not mine to lick and my tongue would get very tired as there are 546 pages.

Lush and opulent are the two words that spring to mind. Described as the definitive guide to the Decorative Arts of the 1920s and 1930s it chronicles a style that shaped popular ideas on modern luxury. Each medium has its own section within which is the bibliography and work of the most important designers in that field. There is a section on, for example, ‘Furniture and interior decoration’ discussing the work of 14 designers and another on ‘Paintings, graphics, posters and bookbinding’ showcasing nine designers. There is also a useful A-Z of designers, artists and manufacturers. This is a book to inspire students studying many disciplines including interior design, fashion and textile design, graphic design, fine art and illustration.

If you want to include any of these images in your work you need to acknowledge and reference them properly.  See

And if you use images on a database refer to this page

For reading more about Art Deco,  we have the V&A’s definitive book on the history of design and decorative arts in Britain:

The V&A has its own fabulous online learning resource. Find out more about Art Deco on its web pages:

There are articles:

Reading lists:

And details about upcoming events including a seminar on Eileen Gray on Saturday 7th June

Eileen Gray: her life and workSee our latest book on this influential twentieth century designer in the library catalogue:

And there is another one arriving soon:

If you haven’t already done so, visit the V&A in South Kensington to view galleries stuffed full of beautiful treasures from around the World and have your lunch in the stunning William Morris Green Room.

This one is for the architects, the William Morris room is here:

Victoria and Albert Museum
Opening times
10.00 to 17.45 daily
10.00 to 22.00 Fridays


Leave a Comment (note: all comments are moderated)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(you can use <b>bold</b> or <i>italic</i> markers)


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.