(Phaidon 2016, $60)
Every once in a while, a book comes along that stops us in our tracks both with the content and the visuals. Plant is such a book with its perfectly-executed compilation and celebration of botanical art in all media and throughout history. The three hundred works of art presented were selected by experts for their historical, scientific, and cultural significance. Nothing is overlooked from a precious medieval manuscript to humble seed packets. The images are accompanied by enlightening stories about the botanists who discovered the plants, their significance, and the artists who depicted them. Included are classic botanical drawings and flower x-ray images and even a page of pressed flowers from 14-year-old Emily Dickinson’s herbarium. Plant may start on your coffee table, but it won’t stay there for long.
Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin and Johannes Scarf, Various flowering plants, 1792, pen and ink and watercolour on paper, 24 × 19.5 cm,
Natural History Museum, London. Picture credit: Natural History Museum, London / Science Photo Library
Rob Kesseler, Scabiosa crenata. Fruit – diameter 7.2mm, 2013, hand- coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM), dimensions variable, private collection. Picture credit: Collection of Rob Kesseler
David Monn: The Art of Celebrating
David Monn has been transforming mere spaces into spectacular stages for entertaining and events for over ten years from his base in New York City. He was a pioneer in the early days, much copied, and is still sought out for his attention to every detail and ability to truly orchestrate an experience by adhering to his core principles of authenticity, scale, and detail. In this book, you are invited behind the curtain to see how it all comes together for 36 events from weddings and bar mitzvahs to grand galas for such New York institutions as the New York Public Library and the Guggenheim. While the scale is grand, there are ideas that can be translated for your next entertaining occasion. The lavish, oversized book showcases Monn style in all its facets.
Cecil Beaton at Home:
An Interior Life by Andrew Ginger
(Rizzoli New York 2016, $85)
A new book about the truly multi-talented creative force that was Cecil Beaton is out this fall with an emphasis on his love of interiors and the two homes that were nearest and dearest to Beaton—Ashcombe House near the Wiltshire village of Tollard Royal and Reddish House, located in Broad Chalke. Many associate Beaton with his fashion photography, but he was also an Academy Award winning costume and set designer, playwright, creator of fashion fabrics, and as this book explores, an interior decorator. His country houses were studios for his abundant creativity. Extravagant décor, extravagant entertaining, and his flair of theatrically come together beautifully in this 368-page celebration of all that was Beaton.