A Photographic Survey by Emil Schulthess.English translation by Peter Gorge.173 illustrations from photographs in colour and monochrome.Collins.£4 4s.
This English edition of a Swiss publication is, pictorially, very striking indeed. Its pages, nearly fourteen inches wide and eight inches deep, are excellent for the display of pictures though not for the reader: when turned they flop over and curl and, as the captions are so placed that they cannot be seen side by side with the illustrations, one has to keep on turning. This inevitably leads to a certain amount of irritation, and even cramp in the neck, as one tries to manipulate the flops and curls.
Sir Raymond Priestley contributes a short preface in which he views Antarctica in the light of progress and his own experience. Then Rear-Admiral Dufek, in much greater detail, describes his Antarctic travels, his scientific investigations undertaken during the International Geophysical Year, and his conclusions on the significance of Antarctica to present and future generations of men. His record includes an account of MrSchulthess’s part in these investigations as one of the official photographers: a very active and successful part, as the resulting photographs show. ‘His camera’, the Rear-Admiral says, `caught the fairyland grandeur of glaciers and crevasses that moaned as the ice-shelf moved relentlessly towards the sea at the rate of four feet a day. He caught, too, the changing moods of the men at work and at play. Once I walked from my flagship over the ice towards a herd of four Weddell seals and a group of Emperor Penguins. When I arrived, I found I had been mistaken. There were three seals—the fourth was Emil taking pictures of the penguins.’
While his views of mammals and machines are remarkably good, where Mr. Schulthess most brilliantly succeeds is, I think, in his landscapes. Some of his desolate icy wastes, his fantastic icebergs, ice-shelves and barriers explain the lure of the Poles which those who have visited them never forget or escape.
Rome. By Y. and E.-R.Labande. Translated and adapted from the French by George Millard. 205 illustrations.4 maps.270 pp.New edition. Kaye. 35s.
The heliogravure illustrations in the Beaux Pays series to which this reprint belongs are not only of excellent quality, they are particularly well suited to ‘the many faces of Rome’. An introductory chapter on the colour of Rome—colour in the broadest sense—points out that ‘not everything can be attributed to the light. The city, so rich in ancient monuments of many periods, has a genuine continuity not only in the materials used but also in the elements that constitute apparently inconsistent styles: all are unified by a subtle harmony.’ Though the ancient ruins—ancestors from which the great city has sprung—are ‘now only tiny islands of verdant natural beauty’, they have lost nothing of their interest for newcomers to Rome, who will find this volume likely to be of value in identifying the most important relics.
The seven hills, the tombs and burial sites, the palaces and villas, the Tiber and its lovely bridges, and finally the Vatican City are described, with digressions on paintings, sculpture and architecture. As the authors say, even the best of illustrated books cannot tell the whole story or convey the complete picture of Rome. As an attractive side-light on its history and art, this one has earned a place.