Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection

Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection

Hardback Black Dog & Leventhal

By (author) Simon Winchester

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  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 256mm x 264mm x 28mm | 1,400g
  • Publication date: 9 October 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1579129129
  • ISBN 13: 9781579129125
  • Illustrations note: col. Illustrations
  • Sales rank: 51,534

Product description

Simon Winchester, from the introduction to Skulls: "Skulls tells the story of the skull, in both the human and the animal world. Skulls-human in the main, but by no means exclusively-have exerted for scores of thousands of years an almost inexplicable power over the human imagination. They are symbols both of existence and of former existence; they are freighted with terror and awe...Perhaps no other biological entity retains such a grip on human psychology as does this assemblage of hollow bone...People are fascinated and captivated by skulls. They always have been, and always will be." At the centre of Skulls is a stunning, never-before-seen-in-any-capacity, visual array of the skulls of more than 300 animals. They skulls are from the collection of Alan Dudley, a British collector and owner of what is probably the largest and most complete private collection of skulls in the world. Every skull is beautifully photographed to show off it most fascinating features and to give the reader the most intimate view possible. Where possible, cross-sections and additional angles are also show. Along with the imagery, each skull includes a short explanatory essay, taxonomy, biological data, skull details, comparative skeletal anatomy and other pertinent information. The text is written by bestselling and international renowned author, Simon Winchester and covers the story of Alan Dudly and his collection as well as the biology, history and iconography of skulls throughout the world. Includes 550 visually arresting photographs throughout.

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Author information

Simon Winchester is a bestselling author of more than a dozen books. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Smithsonian and National Geographic and elsewhere. He was presented with and OBE by HM The Queen in 2006.

Review quote

Digging deep into Alan Dudley's collection of more than 2,000 skulls, Winchester ("The Professor and the Madman") and photographer Mann highlight the rarest and most unusual of the vaunted cranium connoisseur's world-class assortment (which is housed cozily in a spare upstairs bedroom in his home in England). Grouping the skulls according to species, Winchester enthusiastically educates armchair osteologists on the peculiarities of key subspecies, enabling readers, should the need arise, to tell a long-nosed bandicoot from a southern brown bandicoot, the bizarrely horned babirusa from a warthog, or the fearsome (and extinct) saber-toothed cat from a modern (endangered) tiger. Though some, like the hard-to-find elephant skull, are replicas, the vast majority are the real thing, including that of the extinct dodo bird. Winchester rounds out the book with various essays on topics such as the use of skulls in artwork, phrenology, and other related subjects with varying degrees of success. Prone to wordiness, he's at his best offering short takes on his subjects or tips on DIY skull collecting. Mann's crisp, reverential photography more than makes up for the volume's literary shortcomings, making this one coffee-table book that's hard to resist."