With summer well and truly underway, we are pleased to share with you a collection of the gallery’s most-loved books – recommended by us, and most-loved by you.
The Story of Art Without Men – Katy Hessel
Joyful and inspiring, this book celebrates the dazzling array of women throughout art history. Although inherently a positive account, choosing to focus mostly on their achievements rather than to rail against the systems which held them back, the book cannot resist the occasional jaw-dropping example – for instance, mentioning that the Academia Royale of Paris made an entirely arbitrary rule that the number of women members should be limited to four at a time, or pointing out that the ground-breaking, modern era-kickstarting readymade sculpture Fountain was almost certainly submitted to the Society of Independent Artists by a woman and merely ended up being credited to Duchamp.
This book sets out to demonstrate that, despite the hurdles in their path, the contributions of women artists have been significant, both as individual creators and as innovators who enhanced the progress of art itself. It’s no wonder that this book has been everywhere this year – it shot straight to the top of the Sunday Times bestseller lists, was lauded by publications such as The Guardian, Financial Times, and the Times Literary Supplement, praised by art Alumni Tracy Emin, Iwona Blazwick and Hans Ulrich Obrist, and was the Waterstones book of the year 2022.
Cornish Tales – Eric Quayle and Michael Foreman
Stunningly illustrated by Michael Foreman, this book is the perfect bedtime read, with traditional Cornish folktales featuring giants, mermaids and pixies, who deserve to be as well-known as Jack and the Beanstalk and Robin Hood. Celebrate the rich and strange mythology of Cornwall, and try to resist the temptation to read just one more.
The Mousehole Cat – Antonia Barber & Nicola Bayley
This celebrated tale is a must-have for any children’s bookshelf. Filled with unforgettable illustrations, it tells the story of Mowzer, the intrepid fishing-boat cat, who meets the great Storm-Cat threatening the harbour of Mousehole…
The Mermaid of Zennor – Charles Causley & Michal Coleman
On the rugged Cornish coast, where the land meets the sea, lies the village of Zennor. Here, there are stories and whispers of a villager capturing the heart of a mysterious and beautiful stranger from the sea … a mermaid!
The Salt Path – Raynor Winn
Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.
Zennor Darkness – Helen Dunmore
It is spring 1917 in the Cornish coastal village of Zennor, and the young artist Clare Coyne is waking up to the world. Ignoring the whispers from her neighbours, she has struck a rare friendship with D.H. Lawrence and his German wife, who are hoping to escape the war-fever of London. In between painting and visits to her new friends she whiles away the warm days with her cousin John, who is on leave from the trenches, harbouring secrets she couldn’t begin to understand.
But as the heat picks up, so too do the fear and the gossip that haunt the village. And the freedom to love will come at a steep price.