Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Of the Arts: The Violinist of Venice & The Improbability of Love

The Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palombo At first this appears to be a routine historical romance, but it soon deepens to something more, a realistic account of a relationship … Continue reading

March 2, 2016 · Leave a comment

Soaring Flight. Peter Lanyon’s Gliding Paintings

Peter Lanyon was one of many artists in the 20th century who took profound inspiration from Cornwall. It is not just the conventional beauties of its landscape, but the particular … Continue reading

January 29, 2016 · 1 Comment

The Making of an Artist and Writer: Susie Nott Bower talks about Bodies, Creativity and Plastic Surgery in her Novel “The Making of Her”

Susie Nott-Bower is a writer and painter. Her novel “The Making of Her” charts the story of two 50 year old women – Clara and Jo. Best friends – one … Continue reading

October 4, 2013 · 7 Comments

Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life, by T J Clark and Anne M Wagner

The current blockbuster exhibition at Tate Modern is Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life and this book is its catalogue. So this will be mostly personal reaction to the … Continue reading

September 18, 2013 · 10 Comments

An Exquisite Sense Of What Is Beautiful, by J David Simons

An Exquisite Sense Of What Is Beautiful is an accomplished and finely structured novel that takes a wide sweep across the world and through time, from London to Japan and … Continue reading

July 12, 2013 · 2 Comments

Alfred Wallis, Artist and Mariner, by Robert Jones

Alfred Wallis (1855-1942), mariner and fisherman, who lived for most of his life in Cornwall and is most closely identified with St Ives, at the end of his life was … Continue reading

May 11, 2012 · 9 Comments

Forging Dragons by John Howe

To me, drawings are exciting. I prefer Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings to his paintings and I’m pleased when I spot an outline beneath any artist’s finished painting. That’s one of … Continue reading

January 25, 2012 · 7 Comments

How Rembrandt Reveals Your Beautiful, Imperfect Self by Roger Housden

At first, this book appears to be some sort of weird combination of self-help guide with a twist of culture. Or part of a surrealist series containing Michaelangelo’s Guide to … Continue reading

March 15, 2010 · 13 Comments

The Pitmen Painters: a play by Lee Hall. Newcastle Live Theatre/ National Theatre co-production March 2009

Occasionally, one of the Foxes will go to the cinema or theatre, and come back inspired to write about it here. This time, Hilary has returned from a National Theatre … Continue reading

March 29, 2009 · 8 Comments

The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe

There have been dozens of books about The Impressionists, but none so vividly transports you to the France of the late 1800’s as Sue Roe’s masterpiece. Her rich tapestry dispels … Continue reading

May 12, 2008 · 6 Comments

Chinese Takeout by Arthur Nersesian

I don’t know if Arthur Nersesian is a painter or can just channel one, but this book is the most perfect representation of an artist’s inner dialogue that I have … Continue reading

February 18, 2008 · 6 Comments

The Art Thief by Noah Charney

The Art Thief is one of the wittiest books I’ve read in a long time. Not only the snappy dialogue, but the sharp observations are all done with cleverness and … Continue reading

January 6, 2008 · 6 Comments

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland

Susan Vreeland once again opens her paint box to give us a peek inside the inspiration and personality of an artist, this time, Auguste Renoir. While her most recent books … Continue reading

December 11, 2007 · 7 Comments



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)