Southwold: An Earthly Paradise (2017)

ISBN: 9781851498550
Artist(s): Various
Author(s): Geoffrey Munn
Format: hardback
Edition: Second Edition
Year published: 2017
Publisher: ACC Art Books
Total Pages: 240
Illustrations: Profusely illustrated


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The inspiration behind William Morris’s Earthly Paradise, the muse for J.M.W. Turner’s superlative seascapes, a home to hardy fishermen and the top holidaying spot for wealthy Victorians, as well as the scene for relentless witch-hunts and mob justice in the 17th Century, Southwold is far more than a picturesque postcard town. From the time of Saint Edmund, through plagues, fire and wars, to Damien Hirst’s driftwood creations, and the future day when this town will tumble into the sea, this book collects essays that reveal slivers of Southwold’s essence.

Some are part-myth, some part-legend. But all make for excellent stories, especially when complemented by beautiful art. This 2017 edition keeps its celebrated essays on some of the more well-known aspects of Southwold’s past – such as the Battle of Sole Bay, one of the fiercest fights in British history.

The Battle of Sole Bay was fought against the Dutch in 1672, and the bloody confrontation is fully described and illustrated with contemporary paintings and drawings. In addition, the text contains updated text and pictures. Among the most notable of the new sections is the chapter regarding the tragic dissolution of the romantic friendship between Franklin Lushington and Edward Lear, writer of the nonsense poem The Owl and the Pussy Cat and the lesser known (yet more autobiographical) The Daddy-Long-Legs and the Fly.

Another remarkable addition is a page spread dedicated to the oil painting Tired Out by Philip Wilson Steer, which sold at Sotheby’s for GBP674 500 in 2014. A history, a celebration and an ode merged into one, Geoffrey Munn’s Southwold will take you on a trip through this famous seaside resort as you’ve never seen it before. AUTHOR: Geoffrey Munn is a well-known face on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.

He is a jewellery expert, the managing director of the London-based firm of Wartski, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. Munn has published several books on jewellery, and has a long and happy association with Southwold. 200 colour

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