Friday, 26 June 2009

Art Bookshop Review: Thomas Heneage Art Books

Lots of excellent art history books
all photos copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This is a review of a shop selling art history books. It's also a shop which I shall definitely be going back to. Yesterday I visited Thomas Heneage Art Books and walked away with two excellent books - one a Tate Publishing catalogue of the 1998 retrospective exhibition of John Singer Sargent at the Tate Gallery and a 1984 book providing an overview of Pastels and pastel artists from the 16th to the 20th century by Genevieve Monnier.

Name of Art Bookshop: Thomas Heneage Art Books
Address: 2 Duke Street, St James's, London SW1Y 6DJ
Website: Thomas Heneage Art Books http://www.heneage.com
Shope hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am to 6pm, otherwise by appointment (closed public holidays).
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7930 9223
Of interest to: art lovers, students of art history, gallery owners, art dealers, art exhibition visitors, art students and art teachers
Highlights:
  • my idea of a good bookshop - three rooms with books everywhere!
  • an excellent range of high quality art history books about various artists - published at various dates and in various languages
  • ad hoc selection of international exhibition catalogues from past exhibitions; strong on 'landmark' exhibitions
  • all books in excellent condition
  • new publications focus on very specialised topics
  • very helpful staff
Think Again?
  • not for those seeking a cheap book - although prices are fair
  • no art instruction books
Summary: This is the bookshop to go to if:
  • you love art history books
  • you're trying to track down an art history book or catalogue that you want.

Exterior of shop at 42 Duke Street
Thomas Heneage Art Books was founded in 1977. The business focuses on selling art books. We specialize in books for the art market, our core business being in catalogues raisonnés, monographs and international exhibition catalogues. It is our policy to stock the most authoritative book on any subject and in any language, irrespective of its being new or second hand.
I'm never averse to stepping over the threshold of an art bookshop. However shops in the "very posh" St Jame's area of London can be a bit intimidating. However this one is very relaxed - there are books everywhere and you sometimes have to watch your step!

This shop also has extremely friendly and very helpful staff. For example, after I asked whether I could take photographs and explained why, I was given a complete tour of the bookshop - and the coverage of topic areas within art hsitory is extensive - including I then asked about a book I've been trying to get hold of Wilfrid Blunt's The Art of Botanical Illustration and one was located in a very short space of time and I had a price for it. Reader - I was impressed!

Lucian Freud on paper'
surveys what's on offer
Most of the books are about artists and painting - however there is also a set of shelves just devoted to the history of drawing. Extensive shelving is also given over to specialised areas of antiques and artifacts and the art associated with specific countries.

This is the sort of bookshop which is a recommended visit for serious art bibilophiles, art historians, art teachers and students of art history - not to mention the art dealers - many of whom get their reference books here.

The books are authoritative and the best quality. Some are new (the type which only get published in limited numbers for not insignificant prices) but the majority are secondhand. That said they are all in good condition. Some even come with some added extras inserted by their previous owners - always a small joy to find! I opened up my Pastels Book to find an item from the Galerie Camoin on the Quai Voltaire in Paris.

If you like art history and you really like books I recommend a visit.

3 comments:

EH said...

Very cool Katherine,
I envy you for these great possibilities you have in London.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Martin - you must come to London!

Robyn said...

This one sounds like a real find, Katherine.

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