It’s fortuitous that, given its title, this is such a tactile book. To handle it is to want to open it and betokens the care that has gone into its production. Your optimism will not be unrewarded, either as this is a well-selected view of Maggi Hambling’s works on paper from the 1960’s to the present day. Primarily intended to accompany an exhibition at the British Museum, the book nevertheless stands well on its own and is certainly not a catalogue. This is something the BM is particularly good at and their publications enhance the visitor experience rather than merely reflect it, sometimes adding material that wasn’t on show as well.
Jennifer Ramkalawon, the exhibition’s curator, adds a useful, incisive and insightful biographical introduction that includes plenty of quotes from Hambling herself, providing a glimpse of her creative processes and working methods.
If you’ve visited the exhibition, the chances are you’ll want this. If you haven’t, or can’t, it makes for a very useful substitute.
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