I had to choose a book or two to inspire me on the Fifth Size Book Adventure before we had the first sessions for the launch week, starting 8th May 2017. Having thought quite a lot about the books I’d looked at and taken some photos of, I didn’t feel any of them were quite right.
Two images kept floating back into my mind – a pink peony and two women in kimonos – from a book that was just labelled Japan on its spine. I hadn’t even noted enough details about it to look it up online. I thought it was probably dated 1890s or early 1900s. The illustrations were mostly from black and white photographs. I described it to the librarian and he reported back that he thought he’d identified the right volume.
Since I had no idea what I might do based on the Japan book, I asked for a book which was more familiar in content even though I had never seen the actual book: Designs of Chinese Buildings, Furniture, Dresses, Machines, and Utensils by William Chambers, 1757.
Then I started to think about how I might use the books, without knowing exactly what the Japan book might contain (some images from the William Chambers book on Chinese design are available on the British Library website) until we had access to them during the Fifth Size Book Adventure launch week.