Coffee table books are making a comeback!
For anyone unable to make it to a museum or an art gallery, coffee table books are a gateway to exploring art, fashion, and history. Usually huge, hefty tomes full of exquisite photographs and illustrations, each hardback has a different charm to the next. Coffee table books can be informative, educational, and fascinating, or entertaining, fun, and colourful.
If you want to show off your love of fashion, your keen eye for photography, or your street art know-how, there is a coffee table book for every reader’s living room.
Essentially created for display, coffee table books became a fine way to spark conversation with visiting guests, especially since there is very little overwhelming jargon and many many pictures!
Check out our favourite five below.
For The Fashionistas
‘Fashion is a big bubble, and sometimes I feel like popping it.’
Alexander McQueen, 2009
“This definitive publication on Alexander McQueen (1969 – 2010) invites you into the creative mind of one of Britain’s most brilliant, daring and provocative designers. Accompanying the V&A’s landmark exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, this comprehensive catalogue features 28 ground-breaking essays from expert fashion commentators and cultural scholars which examine the richness and complexity of McQueen s visionary fashion. The publication includes over 440 striking images, from intimate backstage portraits and editorials by leading fashion photographers to previously unpublished sketches and research boards from the McQueen archive.
At the centre of the book is a Cabinet of Curiosities gatefold with a specially commissioned photo shoot that showcases McQueen s breath-taking attention to detail. The book closes with an encyclopaedic survey of all of McQueen’s London collections, from his 1992 MA graduate collection to his final collection, posthumously presented in March 2010.”
For The Animal Lovers
‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’
“From the first cave paintings, extraordinary medieval bestiaries and exquisite scientific illustration, to iconic paintings, contemporary artworks and the incredible technological advancements that will shape our futures together, the huge range of works reflects the beauty and variety of animals themselves – including butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, frogs, tigers, dogs, jellyfish, spiders and elephants, to name a few.
Arranged in a curated and thought-provoking sequence, this engaging compilation includes iconic works by some of the great names in zoology, such as Conrad Gesner, Charles Darwin and John James Audubon, as well as celebrated artists and photographers, indigenous cultures and lesser-known figures who have made important contributions to the study and representation of animals throughout history.”
For The Street Artists
‘Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.’
“The single best collection of photography of Banksy’s street work that has ever been assembled for print. If that isn t enough there are some words too. You Are An Acceptable Level of Threat covers his entire street art career, spanning the late ’90s right up to the Seasons Greetings Christmas 2018 piece in Port Talbot, Wales. This new edition includes his self-destructing Love is in the Bin intervention, which according to Sotheby’s is “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.” The groundbreaking Dismaland show, his Paris 68 revisited works, The Walled Off Hotel, Brexit, Cans Festival, Brookyln and Basquiat, as well as new works from Gaza and New York. Also featuring the controversial Cheltenham Spies as well as Girl with a Pearl Earring , Art Buff and the spectacular Mobile Lovers which appeared outside Bristol Boys Boxing Club.”
For The Photographers
‘When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.’
“Photography celebrates the most iconic photographs of the past 200 years and includes more than 50 biographies of the most famous photographers, explaining how they pushed the bounds of the medium. It also shows the extraordinary cameras that photographers experimented with, from the daguerreotype to the latest camera phones.
Charting the influence of social and cultural change, as well as the impact of science and technology, this beautiful book follows the history of photographs from the first grainy attempts at portrait and landscape photography to gritty photojournalism, street photography, and digital photography, with special features delving into the stories behind photographic images that changed how people saw the world.”
For The Earth Lovers
‘Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.’
“A stunning and unique collection of satellite images of Earth that offer an unexpected look at humanity, derived from the wildly popular Daily Overview Instagram account.
Inspired by the ‘Overview Effect’ – a sensation that astronauts experience when given the opportunity to look down and view the Earth as a whole – the breathtaking, high-definition satellite photographs in OVERVIEW offer a new way to look at the landscape that we have shaped. More than 200 images of industry, agriculture, architecture, and nature highlight incredible patterns while also revealing a deeper story about human impact. This extraordinary photographic journey around our planet captures the sense of wonder gained from a new, aerial vantage point and creates a perspective of Earth as it has never been seen before.”