Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones

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Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: John Murray Press
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Pages: 336 Language: English ISBN: 9781529394948 Categories: , ,

‘A delightful storybook . . . a portrait of our whole world created from the contents of the ground’ Literary Review

From the hematite used in cave paintings to the moldavite that became a TikTok sensation; from the stolen sandstone of Scone to the unexpected acoustics of Stonehenge; from crystal balls to compasses, rocks and minerals have always been central to our story.

3,000 years ago Babylonians constructed lapidaries – books that tried to pin down the magical secrets of rocks. In Lapidarium, renowned art critic Hettie Judah explores the unexpected stories behind sixty stones that have shaped and inspired human history, from Dorset fossil-hunters to Chinese philosophers, Catherine the Great to Michelangelo.

Discover why alchemists sought cinnabar and sulphur. Unearth the mystery of the tuff statues of Rapa Nui, the lost amber room of Frederick of Prussia and the scandal of Flint Jack. Find out how a Greek monster created coralmoon rock explains the history of Earth’s only satellite and obsidian inspired the world’s favourite computer game.

Stone by stone, story by fascinating story, Lapidarium builds into a dazzling, epoch-spanning adventure through human culture, and beyond.

Weight0.75 kg

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A collection of extravagant stories about artists, miners, princes, chancers, criminals - and above all collectors . . . a real cabinet of curiosities * Sunday Times * A storybook, and a delightful one . . . The essays are shaped with great skill and Judah finds curious and pleasing symmetry and coincidences in the varied stories she tells . . . a portrait of our whole world created from the contents of the ground * Literary Review * A beautifully illustrated collection of insightful essays . . . This clever outing fascinates * Publishers Weekly, starred review *

Author Biography

HETTIE JUDAH is one of Britain's leading writers on art. She is the senior critic on the i, contributing editor to The Plant, and writes regularly for the Guardian, Vogue, Frieze, and the New York Times. She is also a sought-after public speaker. Her recent books include Art London (ACC Art Books, 2019) and Frida Kahlo (Laurence King, 2020). She lives in London. www.hettiejudah.co.uk