Beautifully illustrated, this book is the first comprehensive study in English of the history of Western lacquer.
Hans Huth investigates the development of this art from its inception as a craft in Venice to its spread throughout Europe and North America, and ultimately to the industrialization and decline in the nineteenth century. He gathers together and examines all pertinent data: literature, documents, and examples. The resulting historical survey establishes sixteenth and seventeenth century Venice as the center for the earliest Western lacquerwork. Venetian influence expanded the lacquer vogue to the rest of Italy and beyond, and Mr. Huth devotes individual chapters to the discussion of other European countries and their distinctive contributions to the art of lacquerwork. The last chapter is concerned with the rise and decline of the lacquer industry and ends by pointing out certain trends, especially in Russia and Belgium, which tend to promise a limited reappearance of the lacquer craft. Although the book deals with a very specialized subject, Huth succeeds in relating it to the more general artistic, intellectual, and economic aspects of Western culture. There are over 400 illustrations, including sixteen color plates - many published here for the first time - which provide a visual survey of the material covered, and the volume is supplemented by a chronological table of publications of lacquer from 1550 to the time of this publication. Lacquer of the West will be of interest not only to the specialist, the museum curator, and connoisseur, but to antique collectors in general and those interested in the history of the commerce.
Published by The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1971
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