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The Style of the Century 1900-1980 by Bevis Hillier
Herbert Press 1st 1983

4to. Fine in a Very Good++ wrapper.

Bevis Hillier was the first to anatomize Art Deco, and the first to write on the decorative arts of the 1940s and 1950s.

In this ambitious new book he cuts a great swathe through social and decorative history and gives a far-ranging view of the twentieth century so far, from Edwardiana and Art Nouveau to the Swinging Sixties, the Cynical Seventies and beyond. The book is about lifestyle as well as about art styles and taste. It roves freely over architecture, fashion, automobile design, social conditions, ideas, pop music and the whole gamut of the decorative arts. It is presented with Bevis Hillier's usual wit, panache and ability to pick out the most salient and revealing aspects of each period.

It was these very qualities that caused Studio International to comment about his Art Deco (1968) : `It's so elegant, so intelligent. It's the cat's whiskers'. It became a cult book and did much to bring about the big Deco revival of the late sixties and early seventies.

In 1975 Hillier led the way with the first book on the decorative arts of the forties and fifties — Austerity/ Binge. Quentin Crisp, reviewing it in Punch, wrote: `I advise — nay, I implore — the younger readers of Punch to pulverize all the flabby milk bottles on which they can lay their hands, to melt down all lapel badges proclaiming the wearer's sexual and political intentions, and, if possible, to burn all copies of Mr Russell's movie Tommy. This operation should begin today before Mr Hillier has time to focus upon the present his not merely observant but perceptive eye.'

The advice came too late: Hillier was already training his eye on the sixties and seventies; and the result is what he has deliberately made the longest section in this book, full of original insights into the recent history which has only just begun to be `recycled' as nostalgia.


Costs for shipping to the USA are for air mail. Please contact me if you would like your purchase to be sent surface mail. This is cheaper, obviously, but can take 6 – 8 weeks. (Royal Mail have only one rowing boat and the man behind the oars is nearing retirement). Air mail should take about 5 days.


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