HOLLBERG, Cecilie (2017). Textiles and Wealth in 14th Century Florence: Wool, Silk, Painting, Florence: Giunti. ISBN 978-8809865150, hardback, 288 pp., fully illustrated with colour photographs, glossary and bibliography. Price €44 (ex. postage).
This is a catalogue of an exhibition of the same name mounted at the Galleria del ‘Academia di Firenze (Italy) from December 2017 to March 2018. It includes eight substantial essays: one on wool as a luxury material in 14th century Florence; another on decorated fabrics of the period; and the remaining on the trade, manufacture and types of silk in and around Italy, from the 12th to the 14th centuries.
The catalogue itself is lavishly illustrated with full page, colour photographs of each textile or painting and an accompanying detailed description. The textiles portrayed include velvet capes; fragments of patterned velvets with gold and silver thread; brocaded lampas; a dalmatic; a royal pourpoint and more. It must have been a stunning exhibition, as befits a show of luxury objects.
Recommendation: The book, with bibliography and short glossary of textile terms, will be of interest to curators and textile historians; researchers in the economic importance of European textiles, especially luxury textiles; and anyone with an interest in the history of silk.