New open access books for January 2019

By Alison Fox, on 4 January 2019

We’re starting the year with a bang: two must-read new open access books.

Our first publication of 2019 is Botticelli Past and Present, a co-publication with the V&A. Featuring contributions from leading voices in art history,  this book enagges with the significant and continued debate about the artist. Comprising four thematic parts, spanning four centuries of Botticelli’s artistic fame and reception from the fifteenth century. Each part comprises a number of essays and includes a short introduction which positions them within the wider scholarly literature on Botticelli. The parts are organised chronologically beginning with discussion of the artist and his working practice in his own time, moving onto the progressive rediscovery of his work from the late eighteenth to the turn of the twentieth century, through to his enduring impact on contemporary art and design. Expertly written by researchers and eminent art historians and richly illustrated throughout, the broad range of essays in this book make a valuable contribution to Botticelli studies.

Next up is a must-read of anyone interested in archaeology, egyptology, museums or ancient history: Scattered Finds by former Petrie Museum curator Alice Stevenson. It tells the fascinating story of how, between the 1880s and 1980s, British excavations at locations across Egypt resulted in the discovery of hundreds of thousands of ancient objects that were subsequently sent to some 350 institutions worldwide. These finds included unique discoveries at iconic sites such as the tombs of ancient Egypt’s first rulers at Abydos, Akhenaten and Nefertiti’s city of Tell el-Amarna and rich Roman Era burials in the Fayum.

Scattered Finds explores the politics, personalities and social histories that linked fieldwork in Egypt with the varied organizations around the world that received finds. Case studies range from Victorian municipal museums and women’s suffrage campaigns in the UK, to the development of some of the USA’s largest institutions, and from university museums in Japan to new institutions in post-independence Ghana. By juxtaposing a diversity of sites for the reception of Egyptian cultural heritage over the period of a century, Alice Stevenson presents new ideas about the development of archaeology, museums and the construction of Egyptian heritage. She also addresses the legacy of these practices, raises questions about the nature of the authority over such heritage today, and argues for a stronger ethical commitment to its stewardship.

 As always, they can be downloaded from our website as soon as they publish. Happy reading!

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