Firstly, I want to take the opportunity for a huge thank you to all our customers who have supported us over the past year – both by coming to the shop and also attending our author events. We really appreciate your custom. For this month’s selection I thought I’d suggest two titles that came out late last year which may have been overlooked among the tinsel. They are well worth a look. Wayne.
ZEALS A biography of an English Country House by Jennie Elias (£20)
Zeals, an English country manor house in Wiltshire, was filled with life, dogs, books, flowers and a grand piano in the Great Hall.
It was a house for landed gentry – but is now on Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ register. The house has medieval origins, but there were later additions; predominately those from the 19th century by Victorian architect George Devey, but also earlier changes in the 17th and 18th centuries.
This fascinating house naturally has a rich history. Charles II took refuge at Zeals House on his flight to the coast. A family member was beheaded by Oliver Cromwell for daring to confront his parliamentary troops. The Chafyn-Grove family, later Troyte-Bullock inheriting in a sideways move, lived at Zeals House for 500 years until the mid-20th century, when the fate of the estate mirrored that of many others in England.
Jennie Elias charts the joys and tragedies of generations of Zeals House residents, with characters ranging from haughty to charming and eccentric to prejudiced. There were of course failures through political levelling down and cultural change, but there were also many entirely of their own making. This definitive history also explores and celebrates the architecture of Zeals.
The Story of Art Without Men
by Katy Hessel (£30)
Can you name 20 women artists? If not, read this book.
Who makes art history?
Did women even work as artists before the 20th century? And what is the Baroque anyway?
Prepare to have your sense of art history overturned, and your eyes opened to many art forms often overlooked or dismissed. From the Cornish coast to Manhattan’s east side, Nigeria to Japan, this is the story of art for our times – one with women at its heart, brought together for the first time by the creator of the website The great women artists.
(if you’re on Instagram, do follow @thegreatwomenartists)
“The Story of Art Without Men should be on the reading list of every A-level and university art history course and on the front table of every museum and gallery shop.” – Laura Freeman, The Times. “Passionate, enthusiastic and witty, this spirited history celebrates female artists without any dreary finger wagging.”
Signed copies available at Winstones, Sherborne.