Gerard M-F Hill

Japan: Courts and Culture by Rachel Peat, edited by Gerard M-F Hill (London: Royal Collection Trust, 2020), £35.00

A fully illustrated, high-quality hardback telling the story of 400 years of royal contacts between Britain and Japan, beginning with James I and Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1613. Visits brought exchanges of fine gifts: lacquerware, armour, porcelain, embroidery, artwork, even an incense game. The book is beautifully produced – design, binding, paper and printing are all outstanding – and even gives off a beautiful scent! Gerard also wrote the index. With 320 pages and some 340 colour illustrations, the book is definitely worth more than £35.

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Also available at the Royal Collection Trust.

Reconstructing the Lansdowne Collection of Classical Marbles by Elizabeth Angelicoussis, edited by Gerard M-F Hill, 2 vols (Munich: Hirmer, 2017), £60.00

Mainly thanks to the erudite digger–dealer Gavin Hamilton, the 1st Marquess of Lansdowne acquired some of the finest classical sculptures in existence. His mansion on Berkeley Square eventually housed over a hundred Greek and Roman marbles. In this book, Volume I traces the story of the collection and its display, with an unusually comprehensive bibliography; Volume II is a catalogue of all 117 pieces, based on minute examination of the sculptures, what we know of the sculptors and their clients in the Ancient world, and detailed research and analysis of written and visual records, including the original letters written by Hamilton and Lansdowne. The appendices include concordances of previous catalogue numbers and a list of every record of each piece between 1762 and 1930, when the collection was dispersed.

With its 728 pages and 548 illustrations, the result of ten years’ research and four years’ editing, this beautifully produced linen-bound book is seriously underpriced. Gerard is named as editor on the title page, and was also copyeditor, proofreader and indexer.

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In Isadora’s Steps by Lily Dikovskaya with Gerard M-F Hill (Brighton: Book Guild, 2008), £17.99.

Aged 7, Lily left London for Isadora Duncan’s school in Moscow. Isadora’s favourite, she recalls her personally and on stage. They toured China and the USA, where Irma Duncan caused a crisis that changed everything. Lily spent the war in Kazakhstan, her husband in the Kremlin. Eventually, the truth emerged.

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A Guide to the Lakes of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire by Thomas West, revised by William Cockin, edited by Gerard M-F Hill (Carlisle: Unipress Cumbria, 1821/2008), £23.30

Unspoilt. Unvisited. Until West wrote, the Lakes were unknown and unloved, by poets, tourists, nymphs or shepherds. This edition has photographs matching the original views, a scholarly introduction, the text, aquatints, appendices and notes. Suitable for ‘the curious of all ranks’, this is the guidebook that began it all.

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