A Cabinet of Rarities
Antiquarian Obsessions and the Spell of Death
- ISBN 9780500516348
- 28.00 x 21.00 cm
- PLC (with jacket)
- With 38 illustrations
- First published 2012
With breathtaking virtuosity and a unique, dreamlike vision, Érik Desmazières – a master of contemporary printmaking re-creates interiors, cityscapes and fantastical compositions.
‘Elegantly macabre … provokes a titillation of fear, which is not unpleasant when safely enclosed by hard covers’ – The Irish Times
Rich in atmosphere, refreshingly strange and exquisitely produced, A Cabinet of Rarities is a bibliophilic treasure for anyone whose imagination is fired by the esoteric and macabre.
Desmazières has delved deep into the arcane theme of cabinets of curiosities. Taking as his starting point the melancholy musings of the seventeenth-century antiquary Sir Thomas Browne, he has reinterpreted these shadowy collections of the rare and bizarre – precious corals, shrunken heads and magical artefacts – as meditations on the vanity of earthly life. Death and decay are never far below the surface, as a depiction of Sir Thomas Browne’s own skull, disinterred and displayed in a museum until the 1920s, reminds us.
The erudite text by Patrick Mauriès traces the preoccupations of Browne and his fellow collectors through history, showing how abstruse objects and spectres of death have now entered the cultural mainstream.
Érik Desmazières, a member of France’s elite Académie des Beaux-Arts, is represented in numerous important public and private collections all over the world. His previous publications include illustrated editions of Jorge Luis Borges, Sir Thomas Browne
and Herman Melville.
Patrick Mauriès is a Paris-based writer, publisher and collector. A one-time contributor to the Italian art and design magazine FMR, he is the founder of Le Promeneur, a publishing house specializing in restoring neglected literary figures. Among his previous titles is the acclaimed Cabinets of Curiosities.