Ap­plied arts

Country Life Every Week - - Books -

Con­tem­po­rary Bri­tish Crafts

Amanda Game (Philip Wil­son, £17.99)

CRAFT IS rarely taken se­ri­ously by mu­se­ums: it’s the poor re­la­tion to fine art. Not so for Sir Ni­cholas and Lady Good­i­son, as­sid­u­ous col­lec­tors of con­tem­po­rary ap­plied arts for them­selves and the Fitzwilliam Mu­seum, Cam­bridge. A for­mer chair­man of the Stock Ex­change, TSB, Cour­tauld, Na­tional Art Col­lec­tions and Crafts Coun­cil, Sir Ni­cholas has the where­withal and knowl­edge to have com­mis­sioned or pur­chased for the mu­seum more than 120 ob­jects (right, Hori­zon bot­tles by Phil Atrill).

Much of their col­lec­tion is now on show there, hav­ing been diplayed with the as­sis­tance of Amanda Game, au­thor of this metic­u­lously re­searched and splen­didly il­lus­trated re­view of the col­lec­tion. Each en­try con­tains in­for­ma­tion on the ob­ject, its ma­te­ri­als and who made it (far right, Jan­ice Tchalenko), pro­vid­ing an in­tro­duc­tion to some of the best con­tem­po­rary mak­ers in Bri­tain. There is also an in­ter­view with Sir Ni­cholas about build­ing the col­lec­tion.

It is a very per­sonal amass­ing. Sir Ni­cholas is a fur­ni­ture his­to­rian, yet the fur­ni­ture he has se­lected is in a tra­di­tional Parn­ham vein. His eye for glass, ce­ramic, sil­ver and jew­ellery is more ad­ven­tur­ous. He claims to ac­quire only ob­jects ‘that sing’ and add colour; sur­pris­ingly, many are un­der­stated. The book of­fers an in­trigu­ing view of how a col­lec­tion is built and is an in­ter­est­ing snap­shot of late20t­hand early-21st-cen­tury craft, al­beit from a par­tic­u­lar view­point. Corinne Julius

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