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Review of a Painters Bookshelves

Listed under Blog, faux, marbling-graining, Matthew Evans, Welsh heritage Decor Posted Jun 23 2020

With Zoom calls all the rage these days, bookshelves in the background have become a focus of attention. So what about a Painters Bookshelves? Traditional Painter for S Wales, Matthew Evans, takes a trip through his book collection.

Specialist painter’s book collection

I wouldn’t consider myself a book collector by any means, but I enjoy my work and enjoy reading up on all aspects of decoration, design and architecture. Thus I have amassed a little collection, including some older books that have been passed on to me. Others I have found in bookshops or even charity shops, and of course there are the ones sourced from Amazon and Abebooks. So, much like looking in an artisan’s toolbox, I thought that browsing my book shelf might open doors and prompt questions from readers, helping to further the exchange of information.

Check out the top shelves first

I won’t go through every book as some are just for reference and I haven’t read them cover to cover. But this article might help anyone looking for a bit more information before maybe buying one for yourself.

I promise, these are my actual book shelves and I purchased all the books myself (or they were gifts from family/friends.) Nobody has asked me to review or promote anything here. There are a couple of Links through to Amazon and Abebooks but please do support your local bookshops as they can source many items if you ask.

With that in mind not all books on my shelves will be about painting and yes, I know the shelves are not great. They have been a temporary system (for the last 3 years). If it ain’t broke…

Books on Traditional and Faux painting

a painters bookshelves, Traditional painter matthew Evans, welsh heritage decor

First shelf we have is a little mix, but is mostly decorating material.

  • Excuse the Spooky Fun
  • I picked up Kevin McCloud’s 43 Principles of Home out of interest. It has a few nice ideas but to be honest I’ve only skimmed it and not really picked it up in the past few years.
  • I’d say the Lego book was for my children also, but it’s probably just as much for me.
  • Decorative Stone is a nice resource for marble and stone. I picked it up when I was in college.
  • The Elements of Style is an interesting read into the classical orders.

Books on Historic Paint Research

I rate two great books, traditional decoration and painting trade books by Ian Bristow: Interior House-Painting Colours and Technology 1615-1840 and Architectural Colour in British Interiors 1615-1840. Laying the groundwork for historic paint analysis they are a great pair, and would be my recommendation for tradesmen. Unfortunately the former is out of print. I fortunately had the chance to attend a course with Ian Bristow and he kindly signed my copies.

Another two books from my college days are:

  • Pierre Finkelstein’s The Art of Faux fabulous book with step by step information on faux painting and technique
  • Kevin McCloud’s The Complete Decorator similar but with some great information and recipes for simple paints.
  • The hidden book underneath is Building the Georgian City by James Ayres a wonderful book covering the mass produced components for the emerging consumerism coving architecture and building craftsmen. Another of his books will appear later which is a very good read if you are interested in traditional builds.
  • Pais Haute Couture was a gift to my wife as she enjoys sewing
  • Essential William Morris is pretty self explanatory for anyone looking at art and craft style.
  • Snuggled in-between is 1984 by George Orwell. Much has been said and I don’t think that I can add anything more, except it it is not an emotional pick-me-up but not one you can psychically put down either.

Eclectic Style books on the second shelf

  • Our second shelf starts with The Art and Craft of Signwriting by William Sutherland, a wonderful vintage reprint with fabulous pages depicting lettering styles and embellishments.
  • Then a photography book that is too big for the shelf. (I do need to find somewhere better for the bigger books).
  • Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell, Make Stuff and Vintage Home are all interesting books with takes on style.
  • Cloth by Cassandra Ellis holds a great array of projects and informational material.
  • Then some travel and Vintage Fashion Complete which is exactly as it sounds, and is a very interesting book.

The next book is The awesome Book of Hand and Chalk Lettering which has some nice guides and samples to follow.

  • The little red one is How to Win Games and Beat People, perfect for family gathering and board games if your competitive.
  • Norwegian Wood is all about wood, how to chop, store, stack and burn. It is more interesting than you might think.
  • Modern Furniture Classics depicts items of modern furniture and their history. Then we have a few more craft/making books.
  • Both the Sherlock Holmes puzzle book and Gone with the Gin were presents.

Welsh Faux Decoration

Finally we have The Life and Times of Ernest Dobson, which really doesn’t look much and unfortunately is not in colour, but the information inside is fantastic. Full of graining and marbling techniques, even in black and white you can see the amount of skill in the work.

Introducing Houses of the Welsh Countryside shows the development of traditional Welsh buildings and their regional style.

Complementing that book is The Welsh House by Ioewerth Peate who was the founder of St Fagans Museum. It goes through the regional Welsh buildings and the conservation arguments.

What next?

Now, I do have a couple more shelves to go through but I thought this post might be long enough. There is no structure or order really, I place everything where it fits at the moment. Maybe once I’ve finished I will organise the lot.

As I said, there are a couple of Links through to Amazon and Abebooks on the decorating books but please do support your local bookshops. If you ask, they can source many items. Thanks for reading a Painters Bookshelves. If there is anything you’d like more information on then please do get in touch.

See you next time. Matthew



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