HBA Book Awards 2020

The Historians of British Art Book Prize Committee is pleased to announce the Book Award winners for publications from 2018. The winners were chosen from a nominating list of seventy books from thirty different presses. Awards are granted in four different categories.

The award for a single-authored book with a subject before 1600 goes to John Blair, Building Anglo-Saxon England, published by Princeton University Press.

Sonja Drimmer’s The Art of Allusion: Illuminators and the Making of English Literature, 1403–1476, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, is Highly Commended in the same category.

The award for a single-authored book with a subject between 1600—1800 goes to Cheryl Finley, Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon, published by Princeton University Press.

The award for a single-authored book with a subject after 1800 goes to Deborah Sugg Ryan, Ideal Homes, 1918–39: Domestic Designs and Suburban Modernism, published by Manchester University Press.

The multi-authored book prize goes to Steven Brindle for his Windsor Castle: A Thousand Years of a Royal Palace, published by the Royal Collection Trust.

HBA would like to offer congratulations to the winning authors and the publishing teams at Princeton University Press, the University of Pennsylvania Press, Manchester University Press, and the Royal Collection Trust.

This year’s committee of readers consisted of Matthew Reeve, Stacey Sloboda, Eric Stryker, and Alison Syme.

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HBA Book Award for Exemplary Scholarship on the Period before 1600

John Blair. Building Anglo-Saxon England. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018. ISBN-10: 0691162980; ISBN-13: 978-0691162980.

Building Anglo-Saxon England presents, for the first time, the full richness of Anglo-Saxon building in wood and stone. As so little survives above ground for Anglo-Saxon building in England, this book offers a meticulous and balanced examination of the material, archaeological and documentary record. But it also locates patterns of building and experiencing buildings within broader European traditions. Concerned to articulate “how people behaved in constructed space,” Blair offers a vision of a sophisticated and elegant built environment in Anglo-Saxon England.

Highly Commended: Exemplary Scholarship on the Period before 1600

Sonja Drimmer. The Art of Allusion: Illuminators and the Making of English Literature, 1403–1476. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018. ISBN: 9780812250497.

Sonja Drimmer’s The Art of Allusion is Highly Commended in the pre-1600 category. Drimmer’s book offers a compelling analysis of the new tradition of illuminating English language texts by Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, and John Lydgate for royal and gentry audiences. Bridging later medieval manuscript illumination and the very origins of “English literature,” Drimmer’s study charts the development of illustration that responds and contributes to new ideas about literary authorship, political history, and the history of the book in fifteenth-century England. 

HBA Book Award for Exemplary Scholarship on the Period between 1600—1800

Cheryl Finley. Committed to Memory: The Art of the Slave Ship Icon. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN: 9780691136844.

Committed to Memory is a bold and inventive book. It tells the story of how a schematic rendering of a slaving ship and its human cargo—its densely packed, naked bodies—became widely reproduced at the end of the eighteenth century and came to function as an icon for artists of the African Diaspora to deal with the violent legacy of the slave trade, and of slavery in general. Focussing upon what she calls “mnemonic aesthetics, a process of ritualized remembering,” Finley demonstrates how members of the African Diaspora re-invented and modified the icon so that it became an enduring symbol of black resistance, identity, and remembrance.

HBA Book Award for Exemplary Scholarship on the Period after 1800

Deborah Sugg Ryan. Ideal Homes, 1918–39: Domestic Design and Suburban Modernism. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-0-7190-6885-0.

Ideal Homes focusses upon the architecture and interior design of suburban homes in interwar Britain. It explores the complexities and contradictions of suburban modernity, the material forms of which expressed a longing for “Old England” while simultaneously allowing for change and experimentation. Blending design and social history, this volume sensitively analyses the tastes and aspirations of suburban communities and shows how the suburban home was a site of tempered modernist innovation and a retreat from modernity.

HBA Book Award for an Exemplary Multi-authored Book

Steven Brindle, et al. Windsor Castle. A Thousand Years of a Royal Palace. London: Royal Collection Trust, 2018. ISBN-10: 1909741248; ISBN-13: 978-1909741249.

This magisterial volume comprises 32 chapters that explore the art, architecture, history and culture of Windsor Castle from the middle ages to the present. Windsor Castle’s history is that of its nation, and its vicissitudes are evidenced in the changes it took over its thousand-year history. Each of these changes is carefully explained and illustrated over nearly 600 pages. Remarkable new reconstructions are offered of rooms long lost, including their imagery in wall painting and stained glass, tapestry, and the castle’s furnishings. Building upon a wealth of recent archaeological and documentary research, this book offers a panoramic vision of Windsor Castle, and it will be the definitive source on the subject for many years to come.

The book prize committee would also like to recognize the excellent scholarship of the finalists in each category:

Single-authored book with a subject before 1600

Kim Woods. Cut in Alabaster: a Material of Sculpture and its European Traditions. Turnhout: Brepols.

Single-authored book with a subject 1600–1800

Jocelyn Anderson. Touring and Publicizing England’s Country Houses in the Long Eighteenth Century. London: Bloomsbury.

Jill Francis. Gardens and Gardening in Early Modern England and Wales. New Haven and London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art for Yale University Press.

Conor Lucey. Building Reputations: Architecture and the Artisan, 1750–1830. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Clare Taylor. The Design, Production and Reception of Eighteenth-Century Wallpaper in Britain. London: Routledge.

Single-authored book with a subject 1800 to today

Celeste-Marie Bernier. Stick to the Skin: African American and Black British Art, 1965–2015. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

John Holmes. The Pre-Raphaelites and Science. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Deborah Lewittes. Berthold Lubetkin’s Highpoint II and the Jewish Contribution to Modern English Architecture. London: Routledge.

Robert Mills. Derek Jarman’s Medieval Modern. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer.

Multi-authored book

Claire Breay and Joanna Story, eds. Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War. London: British Library.

Mungo Campbell and Nathan Flis, eds. William Hunter and the Anatomy of the Modern Museum. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Julie Codell and Linda K. Hughes, eds. Replication in the Long Nineteenth Century: Remakings and Reproductions. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Margot Finn and Kate Smith, eds. The East India Company at Home, 1757–1857. London: UCL Press.

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