Vermeer's Hat (Paperback)

The seventeenth century and the dawn of the global world

Timothy Brook

Vermeer's Hat offers us a rich new understanding both of Vermeer's paintings and of the era they portray. 'Effortless and compelling, Brooks is a wonderful storyteller. I doubt I will read a better book this year.' Sunday Telegraph

In one painting, a Dutch military officer leans toward a laughing girl. In another, a woman at a window weighs pieces of silver. In a third, fruit spills from a porcelain bowl onto a Turkish carpet. The officer's dashing hat is made of beaver fur, which European explorers got from Native Americans in exchange for weapons. Beaver pelts, in turn, financed the voyages of sailors seeking new routes to China. There - with silver mined in Peru - Europeans would purchase, by the thousands, the porcelain so often shown in Dutch paintings of this time.

Vermeer's haunting images hint at the stories behind these exquisitely rendered moments. As Timothy Brook shows us in Vermeer's Hat, these pictures, which seem so intimate, actually open doors onto a rapidly expanding world.

Publication date: 16/07/2009

£29.99

ISBN: 9781846681202

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Vermeer's Hat (Ebook)

The seventeenth century and the dawn of the global world

Timothy Brook

Vermeer's Hat offers us a rich new understanding both of Vermeer's paintings and of the era they portray. 'Effortless and compelling, Brooks is a wonderful storyteller. I doubt I will read a better book this year.' Sunday Telegraph

In one painting, a Dutch military officer leans toward a laughing girl. In another, a woman at a window weighs pieces of silver. In a third, fruit spills from a porcelain bowl onto a Turkish carpet. The officer's dashing hat is made of beaver fur, which European explorers got from Native Americans in exchange for weapons. Beaver pelts, in turn, financed the voyages of sailors seeking new routes to China. There - with silver mined in Peru - Europeans would purchase, by the thousands, the porcelain so often shown in Dutch paintings of this time.

Vermeer's haunting images hint at the stories behind these exquisitely rendered moments. As Timothy Brook shows us in Vermeer's Hat, these pictures, which seem so intimate, actually open doors onto a rapidly expanding world.

Publication date: 09/07/2010

£9.99

ISBN: 9781847652546

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B003F5NSWE

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Reviews for Vermeer's Hat

'Spell-binding ... as a guide to the world behind the pictures Vermeer's Hat is mind-expanding'

John Carey Sunday Times

'A brilliant attempt to make us understand the reach and breadth of the first global age'

Kathryn Hughes Guardian

'Brook takes you into the paintings in a way that can be spookily intimate'

William Leith Evening Standard

'Brook is a gifted storyteller... spellbinding... a treasure trove of astonishing pleasures'

 The Lady

'How brilliantly Brook connects all with all'

 Guardian

'Revelatory'

 Sunday Business Post

'Illuminating footnotes to Vermeer's miracles on canvas'

 Independent

'An erudite, surprising book that finds traces of swashbuckling where you'd least expect'

Thomas Marks Daily Telegraph

'Truly mesmerising. In this accessible but authoritative study, he... shows better than anyone I've read so far, the truly subversive power of detail'

Lesley McDowell Independent on Sunday

Timothy Brook

Timothy Brook

A native of Toronto, Timothy Brook has taught Chinese history at the University of British Columbia since 2004. He was appointed Shaw Professor of Chinese at Oxford in 2007, but returned to UBC in 2009, where he holds the Republic of China Chair in UBC's Institute of Asian Research. An honorary professor of East China Normal University in Shanghai, he holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick.
Primarily a historian of the 16th and 17th centuries, Brook also works on Japan's wartime occupation of China and human rights in contemporary China. He has written eight books and edited nine, in addition to serving as editor-in-chief of the six-volume History of Imperial China from Harvard University Press.
Profile published his most widely read book, Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global Age, in 2008. It was awarded the Mark Lynton Prize from the Columbia School of Journalism and the Prix Auguste Pavie from the Académie des Sciences d'Outre-mer, Paris, and has been translated into a dozen languages.
Brook lives on Salt Spring Island with his wife, Fay Sims. Their four children are spread from Vancouver to New York.

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