William Burges and the High Victorian dream. Revised and enlarged edition.
London, Frances Lincoln Limited 2013.
Large 4to. 432pp, hundreds of photo ills (many colour). Publisher’s cloth, in pictorial dustwrapper. Gavin Stamp’s copy, with his booklabel.
Weighty new edition of Crook’s biography of the architect and designer William Burges (1827-1881), published in a large quarto format with plenty of new illustrations, many of them in colour. The author adds a new preface, “Billy Burges revisited”, to the text of the 1981 first edition, and makes a good many corrections on minor points of detail, but his narrative essentially remains that set out over thirty years ago and now has (dare one say it ?) a certain period charm. Crook’s book nevertheless remains essential to any understanding of Burges’s unique contribution to High Victorian architecture and design, and is a necessary element in any library or specialist book collection devoted to the subject. On one very minor point of detail, the late Ronald Graham, occupant of Burges’s own London house, Tower House, Melbury Road, between 1933 and his death in 1962, would certainly have been surprised to be described as “Col.E.R.B.Graham” (as Crook describes him in a footnote on p.396), for he was a solicitor who never rose beyond his temporary First World War rank of 2nd Lieutenant.It is proper to note that although this 2013 edition was priced on publication at £45, a marketing ploy offering this much weightier and much more extensively illustrated volume at the same price at which the 1981 edition had originally been issued, copies currently being offered on the internet seem routinely to be priced at amounts in excess of £100, and we have taken that into account in pricing the present copy.