“A WELL-DEFINED CASTE SYSTEM, IN THE GRIP OF ECONOMIC CRISES”: BILL BRANDT’S ENGLISH AT HOME, 1936
BRANDT, Bill. The English at Home. London: B.T. Batsford, (1936). Small quarto, original pictorial boards, photographic endpapers. $1800.
First edition of the photographer’s first book, wonderfully illustrated with 63 full-page photogravures. From the collection of award-winning photojournalist Peter Turnley.
After working as Man Ray’s assistant in Paris, Brandt went to England for the first time in 1931 to “fulfill his ambition to become an independent professional photographer. His first book, The English at Home, appeared in 1936. Based on the portrayal of types and stereotypes, this was a kind of manifesto of British society, through which Brandt undertook to show the British their real faces. The complete opposite of the ideal motherland of his dreams, he discovered a divided people, a stratified society with a well-defined caste system, in the grip of economic crises” (Masters of Photography). As “perhaps Britain’s most famous 20th-century photographer,” Brandt establishes his “intimate and personal style” in this landmark 1936 manifesto (New York Times). Cecil Beaton once noted, Brandt is “the Samuel Becket of photographers… always one step ahead” (Roth, 160). From the library of Peter Turnley, acclaimed photojournalist for Newsweek, Life and Harper’s Magazine, who has covered “almost every important international news event of the last 15 years” (New York Times). With Turnley’s signature on the title page.
Interior fine. Slight wear to extremities of boards, joints starting but sound. An extremely good copy.