Mathieu Lommen Editor
Thames & Hudson, New York and London, 2012, English
Nonfiction, Graphic Design
9.25 x 12.9 inches, hardcover, 464 pages, 672 color illustrations
ISBN: 9780500515914
Suggested Retail Price: $65.00

From the Publisher. Since the 15th century, the printed book has been an essential carrier of information. And, for more than 500 years, there have been designers, printers, and publishers who have extended the boundaries of their professions aesthetically and technically, producing books that are masterpieces of graphic art.

This sumptuous collection tells the history of the printed book through milestone publications and little-known treasures of the art of the book. The noted originators range from Jenson and Bellaert in the 15th century through Piranesi, Bodoni, and Bewick to Morris, Gill, Tschichold, and Birdsall in the modern age. The featured publications include The Nuremberg Chronicle from 1493—a masterpiece of integrated text and illustration; Maria Sibylla Merian’s book of insects from 1719; Muybridge’s 1887 Animal Locomotion; a photomontage book by John Heartfield published in 1929; and a 1937 edition of The Frogs by Aristophanes, produced by the Limited Editions Club of New York.

Mathieu Lommen has published several books on type and book design. He is a curator and teacher of graphic design history at the University of Amsterdam.

On 1 book list
Rick Poynor

The Book of Books is an über-book—a gallery of dozens of the most stunning book designs saved for posterity in the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam. From Aldus Manutius to Herbert Bayer, from Andreas Vesalius to Quentin Fiore, these generously sized reproductions have enormous impact on the page. Only in its more recent selections does the survey seem to waver, though no one could argue with the inclusion of Joost Grootens or Irma Boom. It must also be said that The Book of Books’ design lacks the elegance its subject matter demands, particularly in the bold, excessively line-spaced chapter intros. Once sampled, though, the panoramic scope and cavalcade of masterpieces make this a volume that book design lovers and bibliophiles will find hard to resist.

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