Steve Braunias selects the 10 best illustrated books of 2021


Steve Braunias selects the 10 best illustrated books of 2021, and four Massey Press titles make the list:

‘The Architect and the Artists by Bridget Hackshaw (Massey University Press, $65)

Well this is something special. This book glows. It's illuminated by a celestial light falling through stained glass made by a genius for eight churches and chapels, three private homes, and one school (Liston College, on Rathgar Road in Henderson) - it's the Colin McCahon show, exhibited in the thick, expensive pages of a lovely art book which reveals the great artist's previously overlooked work in stained glass. The 12 buildings were in collaboration with architect James Hackshaw and sculptor Paul Dibble between 1967-1979. Hackshaw was on a "quest for New Zealandness" and made the inspired decision to commission two artists. Dibble made holy water fonts, crucifixes, candleholders; McCahon "expressed his ideas in God". As he wrote, "Good glass holds your hands up high and a certain glory filters through your fingers." There are essays by such as Peter Simpson, and a fantastic interview with Dibble conducted by Christopher Dudman, who takes him to see St Francis de Sales church in Torbay (Dibble also worked with McCahon on St Ignatius church in Remuera, St Mary's church in Papakura, and St Patrick's church in Te Puke). Dibble wanders through for the first time in 40 years. He admires his own handiwork and is awed by McCahon's beautiful stained glass, and then he says, touchingly, "Poor old Colin." The photography is stunning, in numerous double-page spreads. Surely the winner of the 2022 Panz award for best design.’

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