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The Art of the Illustrated Book (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Julius Bryant


The story of the illustrated book from the earliest printed books to the present day, told through the collections of the V&A’s National Art Library

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This is the story of the illustrated book, from the earliest printed examples to the present day, told through the collections of the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London – a library that was created to bring together examples of superlative book-making on almost every subject.

Gathered here are some of the most influential, compelling and striking examples of the illustrated book, arranged thematically in chapters devoted to subjects such as art, literature, religion, architecture, natural history, fashion, and shopping. Brimming with innovative and beautiful examples, ranging from well-known titles, such as Owen Jones’s Grammar of Ornament and James Audubon’s Birds of America, to other wonderful but less familiar publications, this collection offers a fascinating overview of some of the finest illustrated books ever created – demonstrating their enduring appeal.


'A tour d’horizon of book illustrations using 153 examples from the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s National Art Library. Capsule entries on these objects are paired with stunning photographic reproductions, assuring this title a place on many Christmas lists'
The New Criterion

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 30.0 x 23.5 cm

Extent: 288 pp

Illustrations: 571

Publication date: 3 November 2022

ISBN: 9780500480694

Contents List

1. Religion
2. Natural History
3. Travel
4. Fables & Folk Tales
5. Literature
6. Art Making
7. Art History
8. Architecture
9. Ornament and Pattern
10. Festivals
11. World Fairs
12. Fashion
13. Shopping

About the Author

Julius Bryant is the Emeritus Keeper of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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