Essential reads for winter

  • 1 December 2016

From Van Gogh's travels to the golden age of printmaking, here are four books to curl up with this winter.

1. Nienke Denekamp, Rene Van Blerk and Teio Meedendorp, The Vincent Van Gogh Atlas, Yale, £16.99

This fascinating guide to Van Gogh's itinerant life is full of vibrant images and stories about the many places where he lived and worked. Travelling by carriage, boat, train and on foot, Van Gogh visited more than 20 places – from Belgian coal mines to Zundert in the Netherlands and from London to various locations across France. Every week he would send correspondence to his brother Theo, who kept every single piece – and it is through this amazing treasure trove of 800 letters, 1300 drawings and 850 paintings that this book has been produced.

2. Lucinda Hawksley, Bitten by Witch Fever: Wallpaper & Arsenic in the Victoria House, Thames & Hudson and the National Archives, Kew, £28

Illustrated with samples of 275 19th-century wallpapers known to have contained arsenic and sourced from the National Archives, Lucinda Hawksley guides you through the incredible story of the manufacture, uses and effects of this deadly poison. The book also presents the heated public debate surrounding the use of deadly pigments in the sublime wallpapers of a newly industrialised world.

3. Antony Griffiths, The Print before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking 1550-1820, British Museum, £60

Print Before Photography examines the unrivalled importance of printmaking in its golden age, illustrated through the British Museum's outstanding collection of prints. This unique and significant book is destined to be a leading reference in print scholarship, and will be of interest to anyone with an interest in this era of art history.

4. Squares & Other Shapes: with Josef Albers, Phaidon, £6.95

As much for adults as much for children, this book about colour, shapes and composition incorporates language in a way that encourages playful interaction, association and abstract thinking. It leads children through Albers' range of geometrics, one work per page, each accompanied by a short sentence providing humorous and engaging commentary that fuels the imagination, bringing each work to life with personality and character.

Read the full reviews in our Art Quarterly winter 2016 issue.

Tags: Art Quarterly