5 JUNE 1936, Page 34


Current Literature

By A. W. Clapham

Mr. A. W. Clapham has contributed the second volume to the series of Handbooks of Art History which tire being published by the Oxford Press in collaboration with the Courtauld Institute. It is entitled Romanesque Architecture in Western Europe (Clarendon Press, 110s. 6d.) . and follows in format and general method Professor Talbot Rice's volume on Byzantine Art in the same series. For the general reader these books have the disadvantage that they are strictly businesslike textbooks in which the author has to convey his information with the maximum economy of space and is not allowed to give off ingenious theories or to indulge in illuminating asides. But, though Mr. Clapham's book does. not make light reading, it performs its function admirably. . It is unnecessary to say that it is based on wide learning and careful scholarship–:the author's name is sufficient guarantee for that. It covers a wide field, slightly wider indeed than the title suggests, for such countries as Dalmatia and the Holy Land receive a mention in addition to all the districts more usually suggested by the phrase "Western Europe." Each country is treated separately and the history of its Romanesque architecture traced with admirable clarity. Mr. Clapham particularly excels in summarising the conflicting views put forward by different authorities on any disputed point. In these cases the evidence on each side is clearly stated and the reader is left to form his own opinion. The book is illustrated by about eighty plates, sixty plans and several useful maps. The plates are small but so well repro- duced that their size almost ceases to be a disadvantage.