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Peacock and Vine


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This enchanting essay, glowing with colour, unlocks the lives, passions and designs of two charismatic artists, Mariano Fortuny and William Morris

About the Author

A.S. Byatt is a novelist, short-story writer and critic of international renown. Her novels include Possession (winner of the Booker Prize 1990), the Frederica Quartet and The Children's Book, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. She was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999, and was awarded the Erasmus Prize 2016 for her 'inspiring contribution to life writing' and the Pak Kyongni Prize 2017. In 2018 she received the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award.


Byatt's latest offering is a slender but deliciously rich meditation on two artists who blurred the boundary between art and craft -- Erica Wagner * Harper's Bazaar *
A shimmering book... All admirers of AS Byatt's writing are aware of her profound intellectual awareness of the visual coexisting with an almost childlike delight in the colours and tactilities of everyday life... This is a small book but, in its enchanting way, it brings together so many of the themes of Byatt's larger and more obviously ambitious work. [...] Through concentrating on the interlocking worlds of Morris and Fortuny she makes a great defence of the values of art. -- Fiona MacCarthy * Guardian *
Charming... A. S. Byatt outlines the lives and passions - both intellectual and romantic - of two multitalented artist-designers who have captured her imagination * ELLE Decor *
Compact, beautifully illustrated... Byatt teases out connections between [these two artists], using Fortuny to reimagine Morris and vice versa... [Her] short but luminous book is a celebration of the arts they practised -- Nick Rennison * The Sunday Times *
Filled with lovely images .... Byatt shows in her latest book, with her characteristic literary panache, these two titans of decoration and design had much in common, and the study of one brings into better relief the work of the other -- Violet Henderson * Vogue *
A fascinating read. A.S. Byatt has limned mini-biographies of both artists, drawing illuminating comparisons and contrasts between them ... Not only a pleasure to peruse, it will send its readers to libraries and museums to find out more about these two talented and immensely energetic men ... This is a book to enjoy, to think about, and to present to others as a gift -- Claire Hopley * The Washington Times *
Peacock and Vine is a very personal exploration of visual pleasure. The book is, accordingly, small and precious, its pages waxy and illustrations lush -- Frances Wilson * The Daily Telegraph *
A thoughtful exercise in parallel biography... by putting Morris and Fortuny side by side, Byatt celebrates their differences as much as their surprising affinities -- Tanya Harrod * Literary Review *
Beautifully produced little book...heavy with sensory perceptions. She mixes biographical details with accounts of their houses and luscious descriptions of the beautiful things that they made. -- Michael Prodger * The Times *
Her fictions swarm with physical objects of intense emotional potency and with characters whose lives they touch in strange and unexpected ways... In this brilliant and tenderly observant little book, with its elegant Gill typeface and handsome colour illustrations, she [Byatt] celebrates the fruits of making and looking. -- Jane Shilling * New Statesman *
[A] faceted gem of a book... An ingenious comparison. -- Barbara Kisser * Nature *
A lavishly illustrated blend of travelogue and art history. * Lady *
Persuasively argued ... Abundant illustrations ... Byatt is an unabashed enthusiast of both her subjects, and her passion for their work enlivens every sentence of her text * Publishers Weekly *
The book looks ravishing * Bookseller *
[An] elegant new book. * The Economist *

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