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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

The Purple Book: Sensuality & Symbolism in Contemporary Art & Illustration – Review

A selection of carefully curated contemporary illustrators explore sensuality and desire in this gorgeous book, published in June by Laurence King.

Written by Amelia Gregory

The Purple Book - Laurence King, review
The latest offering from preeminent art publisher Laurence King is a huge purple and pink tome put together by two leading thinkers in the graphic design world. Angharad Lewis was behind the brilliant (and now sadly defunct) Grafik Magazine, and Angus Hyland is a partner with mega design consultancy Pentagram. Their beautiful joint creation sets out to explore the relationship between illustration and the written word when it comes to describing desire and eroticism.

The Purple Book_cover. The Purple Book - Laurence King, review
The Purple Book_cover. The Purple Book - Laurence King, review
Contributions from illustrators are paired with quotes, poetry and short stories from famous characters and writers such as the Marquis de Sade, Edgar Allan Poe and James Joyce. Most of the artists work in a predominantly monochrome or subdued palette, using fine line detail to create swirly lines and decorative patterns reminiscent of art nouveau, and there is an exemplary use of typography and layout throughout, the pale pink of the pages ensuring that even the most obviously erotic artwork never seems crass or in your face. At intervals a selection of the illustrators explain their working process, making this a must read for any fans of delicate decadence and erotic fantasy.

The Purple Book - Laurence King, review
The Purple Book - Laurence King, review
The Purple Book - Laurence King, review
Everything about the curation and design of The Purple Book has been thought through to make it as tactile and desirable an object as possible: one that you will want to hold and pore over, caressing the thick matte paper and marvelling at its weightiness. This publication is the antithesis of fast internet imagery: it’s one you’ll return to again and again, reminding you why beautiful books will never be usurped by the worldwide web.

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