PEACOCK & VINE: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny


PEACOCK & VINE: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny

A. S. BYATT    Book Number: 84980    Product format: Hardback

The Booker Prize-winning writer presents a ravishing book with 48 full colour photographs of the lives, designs and passions of two remarkable artists. Born a generation apart in the mid 1800s, Mariano Fortuny was a Spanish aristocrat, thrilled by the sun-baked cultures of Crete and Knossos. William Morris was a member of the British bourgeoisie, enthralled by Nordic myths, and founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Through their revolutionary inventions and textiles, both men inspired a new variety of art and Byatt traces their genius right to the source. Fortuny's Palazzo Pesaro Orfei in Venice is a warren of dark spaces imbued with the rich hues of Asia. In his attic workshop, he created intricate designs from glowing silks and velvets. His French model became his wife and collaborator on the famous 'Delphos' dress - a flowing, pleated gown that evoked the era of Classical Greece. Morris's Red House outside London with its Gothic turrets and secret gardens helped inspire his stunning floral and geometric patterns, but it was Kelmscott Manor that he loved best, even when it became the setting for his wife's love affair with the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Gorgeously illustrated with beautiful designs of pomegranates, birds, peacocks and vines, acanthus and images of the great men themselves, ornamental illuminated manuscripts burnished with gold leaf on pages 66-67, stylish Arabesques shaded in the colour of night, a woodcut illustration of Kelmscott Manor, modern colour photographs of the woven cloths and silks and old embroidery techniques, here are houses and gardens, climbing plants and creeping flowers, printed cotton designs like Morris's Strawberry Thief from 1883, the first indigo-discharge textile to include yellow and red on the lovely blue ground with a repeating pattern of four birds perched on stylised green fronds singing lustily amongst luscious strawberry plants with clear red berries. The fruits of the labour of these two geniuses are passionately explored in this beautifully designed US first edition hardback published by Knopf.
Published price: $26.95
Bibliophile price: £9.00


Additional product information

ISBN 9781101947470
Browse these categories as well: Art & Architecture, First Editions, Historical Biography

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Customer ratings for PEACOCK & VINE: On William Morris and Mariano Fortuny

Number of ratings: 1
Average rating: 5
First class. A book full of pleasure and surprises.
from Anonymous on 10/06/2019
This delightful book is giving me great pleasure. Not knowing much about either Morris or Fortuny, but certainly knowing and loving Morris designs and Fortuny dresses, I purchased the book out of curiosity. What a pleasure. The details covered in their lives and interests, particularly those aspects which inspired their fabric designs, reflect extensive research over an amazing range of subjects. The book is beautifully written, but even more enchanting are the illustrations. How wonderful it was to see a full page print of “Seaweed”, the most recent curtain fabric I purchased. Pictures of designs and inspirational ideas are so well placed and linked to the text. Some themes are unforgettable; I will never again see a pomegranate as just a fruit. The only thing that could improve this book would be a swatch of the gossamers, velvets, silks and gauzes so that I would be able to feel them.