EU shipping is temporarily suspended

Make a splash with these refreshing summer reads

Posted on 11 Jul 2023

From inside looks at the art world to encounters with iconic painters, these books are the perfect thing to pack for the beach or a sunny weekend away.

1. A Year in the Art World

From Art Basel to the Venice Biennale, and auctions to iconic galleries, A Year in the Art World is a panoramic insider’s account of the global art industry, revealing the fascinating but mysterious workings of the world of contemporary art.

2. Artists' Lives

Praised by the Art Newspaper as ‘the best art writer of his generation’, Michael Peppiatt has encountered many European modern artists over more than fifty years. Artists’ Lives, a selection of some of his best biographical writing, covers a wide spectrum of modern art, from Van Gogh and Pierre Bonnard, to conversations with Sonia Delaunay, as well as Francis Bacon, perhaps the most famous of the many artists with whom Peppiatt has formed personal friendships.

3. Surrealists in New York

The impact of Max Ernst, André Masson, Louise Bourgeois and other noted émigrés on the work of Motherwell, Pollock, Mark Rothko and the American avant-garde has for too long been quietly written out of art history. Drawing on first-hand documents, interviews and archive materials, Charles Darwent’s Surrealists in New York brings to life the events and personalities from this crucial encounter.

4. Surreal Spaces

An evocative visual chronicle on the life of Leonora Carrington as seen through interiors, international locations and vintage photographs, Surreal Spaces leads readers on a personal journey through the many spaces Carrington inhabited and which infused and haunted her art and the people she knew.

5. Gwen John

One of the most significant British artists of the twentieth century, Gwen John (1867-1939) made her life and work within the heady art worlds of London and Paris. Gwen John is the first critical illustrated biography of this much-loved artist.

6. The Art of Colour

Invented by prehistoric cave-dwellers and medieval conjurers, cunning conmen and savvy scientists, the colours of art tell a riveting tale all their own. In The Art of Colour, acclaimed author Kelly Grovier helps bring that tale vividly to life, revealing the astonishing backstories of the pigments that define the greatest works in the history of art.

7. Natural Light

Seventeenth-century Europe swirled with conjectures and debates over what was real and what constituted ‘nature’, currents that would soon gather force to form modern science. Julian Bell’s Natural Light deliberates on the era’s uncertainties, as distilled in the work of painter Adam Elsheimer – a short-lived, tragic German artist who has always been something of a cult secret.

8. Totally Wired

Covering the music press’s evolution from the 1950s to the 2000s, through rock & roll, Mod, the Summer of Love, Glam, Punk, Pop, Reggae, R&B and Hip Hop, Paul Gorman’s Totally Wired chronicles the development of individual magazines from Tin Pan Alley beginnings and the countercultural foundation of Rolling Stone, the underground press and the 70s heyday of NME, Melody Maker and Sounds.

Read more


Podcast: Personal conversations with modern art’s liveliest minds

We catch up with art historian Michael Peppiatt about friendship with Francis Bacon, lunch with Lucian Freud, and unforgettable encounters with the likes of Sonia Delaunay and more.

Podcast: The surreal and defiant life of Leonora Carrington

In this episode, we trace the richly varied life of the pioneering Surrealist painter, exploring the extraordinary spaces that shaped and haunted her art, from her childhood at Crookhey Hall to her French hideaway with Max Ernst, and her Mexico City sanctuary.