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Latest Suffolk reads

PUBLISHED: 11:38 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:42 20 February 2013

Latest Suffolk reads

Latest Suffolk reads

Richard Bryson delves into Suffolk's past with the help of three local authors

Suffolk Artists of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Antique Collectors Club, 25)
The images in this lovely coffee table book are well worth repeated viewings but it is much more than just a fine collection of pictures. Josephine Walpole contributes a series of essays on the life and work of about 30 Suffolk artists. Alongside the more famous names Constable and Gainsborough to Munnings and Squirrell are many Suffolk artists who achieved a very high standard but perhaps failed to get the credit they deserve. Take a bow the likes of Robert Mendham, George James Rowe, George Thomas Rope, Walter Daniel Batley and William Robert Symonds middle names were all important in those days, clearly.
For those interested in art, the book is full of insightful comments and background information about these and many other painters.
Walpole has tried to restrict herself to artists born in the county but she has allowed six immigrant artists who made the country their artistic home. Its a rather wonderful, very readable book.

Bungay Through Time by Christopher Reeve (Amberley, 12.99)
Its called the jewel in Waveneys crown and you can see why. Bungay is rich in historic buildings and has a lovely setting sitting above the water meadows of the River Waveney. In this book Bungay resident Reeve, and photographer Martin Evans, look at how the town prospered in medieval times with its extensive river trade, agriculture, and cloth and leisure industries. Despite setbacks like the Black Death, an attack by the notorious Black Dog and even the Great Fire of 1688, Bungay became such a fashionable resort in the Georgian period that it was nicknamed Little London.
Its a study through pictures (comparing then and now) and the scenes captured are bustling streets, the castle, Benedictine Priory, medieval churches and the elegant Butter Cross. It will fascinate people brought up in and around the town.

Jobs For the Boys: The Story of a Family in Britains Imperial Heyday by Hew Stevenson (Dove Books, 30)
This is a family history studded with historic references and worldwide significance told by Suffolk resident Hew Stevenson, a former newspaper group chairman. Hew has researched six generations of his family to tell a story of commerce, feminism, slavery, architecture, conservation and invention. Throw in madness, badness and benign nepotism and it makes for one hell of a tale. It emerges that the Stevensons commissioned paintings and ocean-going liners, fathered illegitimate children, had liaisons with royals and founded the Kruger National Park. They were suffragists, explorers and syphilitics and in between messy divorces they were exploring the Amazon and following the US Civil war. It is the stuff of a cracking television drama and as told by a former journalist avoids the trap of becoming dry and impenetrable. Not that the contents need much embellishment!


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