Recently I received a new book through the post to review: Art Deco by Eric Knowles. To be honest, the Art Deco era is not the period I know the most about and had to research it fully for my own book, Style Your Modern Vintage Home. So having a glossy book that shares the key pieces from the style, is of great interest from a research point of view, but it’s also lovely to look at too!
It is clear from the outset that the book features items of great beauty and desirability but not the items you are going to find at your local car boot (although we can dream huh?). However, to fully understand the design ethos of the movement and how it impacted everyday design, you need to appreciate the high-end items first.
Eric Knowles clearly knows his stuff having worked in the antiques industry since 1976. This shows in his in-depth introduction, which clearly takes us on the journey from the end of World War 1 through to the 1925 Paris Exposition Des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes and beyond.
The book is clearly broken down into chapters describing each antique type, starting with furniture. I love the Le Corbusier chairs especially, taking me back to my History of Architecture I studied an age ago.
The silver, metalwork and lighting chapter is full of geometric shapes and amazing lighting; it was such a stylish design movement wasn’t it?
The jewellery chapter is my favourite; here is Brigitte Helm wearing Raymond Templere jewellery for the film L’Argent in 1928. That turban type headpiece is literally the most amazing piece I have ever seen. (Does anyone have something similar for sale!!!)
Next up is the sculpture chapter. When I think of Art Deco design I always think of the female form holding a hoop or fan like the ones that have been featured here.
Of course, no Art Deco book would be complete without a ceramics chapter. These designs have become so well-known now due to programmes such as Antiques Roadshow and the like.
The glass chapter has everything from Lalique to brighter glass such as these La Verre Francais acid etched vases.
This image is so iconic as are many that are featured in the paintings, posters and graphics chapter.
I especially love these Vogue covers. We have featured them before on a blog called A Century of Fashion, many years ago – I so love the design and the fashions.
The last chapter features architecture from the Art Deco period including everything from the Chrysler Building to the Hoover Building in West London. I know the latter well, as it has a Tesco store behind it!
The book is really informative for someone who loves the period or wants to know about it for the first time. It’s a great reference book as well as a lovely coffee table book. And one thing it also does, is make you drool! These are my 2 favourite items featured (over and above that turban)
This is a stunning semaphore brooch by Gerard Sandoz with diamonds, designed in 1928. IT IS STUNNING!!!
And finally I love this lamp designed in 1925. It is made from chrome and peach glass which reminds me of the lucite on my 1950s box bags. It was designed by Desny.
So I’m off to dream some more…about the glamour of the late 1920s, the geometric design and how I need that turban jewelled head-piece in my life!
Art Deco by Eric Knowles is published by Shire Books.