Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World

Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World


By (author) Timothy Brook

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  • Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 20mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 16 July 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846681200
  • ISBN 13: 9781846681202
  • Sales rank: 38,143

Product description

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.

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Author information

Timothy Brook is a professor of Chinese history at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. The author of eight books on Chinese history, he is also editor-in-chief of the six-volume History of Imperial China from Harvard University Press. Vermeer's Hat is his most widely read book.

Review quote

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