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Reviews of Masterworks

'Since reading Masterworks I can never look at a timber-frame building again without being grateful to Nigel Pennick for all I have learnt from the wealth of data in this valuable book.'
Cerridwen Connolly Pentacle


'Pennick's latest work is a fascinating look at construction principles in our part of the world, looking at how building and related crafts have developed historically and practically. For anyone interested in vernacular architecture, this is a valuable addition to the literature, ranging from styles of substantial architecture to techniques redeployed in railway wagons, and taking in developments in the Arts and Crafts Movement up to the present day.'
John Billingsley Northern Earth


'There is much wrong with this modern world from the traditional viewpoint, not least is the way we build things; they simply will not last at all when compared with the way hundreds of years of traditionally built dwellings do. They are also unsightly in comparison, when even Prince Charles has had occasion to comment upon, to his credit. Masterworks will tell the reader why and will astound with its detailed and careful descriptions of the various techniques involved in building in former times (and, happily, to some extent today).
 
'These masterbuilders were men of great talent and understanding, who constructed according to a worldview which is nearly dead but which we in this magazine are determined to keep alive in any way we can. Although Pennick concentrates on the techniques he also has some details as to the spiritual aspects of their craft, something of which he knows better than almost anyone else.
 
'Masterworks has 23 black and white photographs and 15 line drawings and is written by a man who is not only in tune with his subject matter but is, in fact, a master wordsmith in his own right and deserves credit for this. I personally found this one of his most intriguing and important works to date and cannot recommend it too highly to the discerning reader."

Ian Read Runa


'Masterworks is a glorious tour through the traditional building techniques of north-western Europe. Pennick is an able historian, aware of his post-modern historiography but unwilling to throw the baby of knowledge out with the bath water of textual analysis.
 
'I have to say that my interest in this subject was fairly slight but Pennick engages the reader with great skill before you know it you are cogitating on the intricacies of timber frame roof construction and considering the origins of decorate motifs in furniture design.
 
'The great service of this book is to call into question what some have called our 'temporal Facism' i.e. that people in the past were stupid oafs and only us moderns have any sophisticated intelligence. Time and again Pennick documents examples of nice, neat design that challenge the perception of northern European culture as squalid and impoverished.
 
'This is an ideal source book for historians, architects, builders and artists.

Julian Vayne Liminal Space

 

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