(Visual) Notes on Culture

A History of Architecture, Volume 10
Christopher Tadgell

Early Medieval Europe: The Ideal of Rome and Feudalism
Ellipsis Books, 2001

Christopher Tadgell's fascinating "A History of Architecture" series never quite made it (from what I can tell). Originally projected as a 25 book set that traced the history of buildings from the earliest civilizations to the most post of postmodernism, it pretty much stopped at volume 10 or 11. What exists is a worthy fragment.

Ellipsis books of London was primarily a seller of architecture books, art books, and restaurant guides (which, interestingly enough, rated restaurants primarily on their architecture). From what I can tell, it is now defunct.

Tadgell's style is precise, if inundated by technical terms, and rides a wobbly rail between academic and accessible. The books themselves are brilliantly designed - at only about 2.5 inches square, they are the most portable architecture books in the world (compare to the Phaidon Atlas of World Architecture, which is nearly two feet tall). The photographs are of remarkable enough quality to do justice in the format.

Early Medieval Europe provides a groundwork of social, material and historical substance to the building of the years in question. With the exception of the technical passages, the book could serve as an excellent introduction to the general historical reality of the world at that time. Tadgell organizes by geography and époque, showing how the last vestiges of Rome eventually were preserved, revived, or improved upon by the time of the Gothic era. He admirably provides justification or evidence for the “way things were” without defaulting onto the top-down, self-affirming genius argument that much early art history enthused.

With the exception of a few layout errors (passages are cut-off or disappear entirely), this is recommended reading for newcomers and veterans alike.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home
Personal news and "found" images.

My Photo

Writer on film, culture, art, media, and music.

July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 /

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]