Thames & Hudson

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Thames & Hudson (sometimes T&H for brevity) is a publisher of illustrated books across all areas of visual creativity: the arts (fine, applied, decorative, performing), architecture, design, photography, fashion, film and music, and also archaeology, history and popular culture.[2] With its headquarters in London, it has a sister company in New York City and subsidiaries in Melbourne, Singapore and Hong Kong. In Paris, it has a further subsidiary company, Interart, which is engaged in the distribution of English-language books and a sister company, Éditions Thames & Hudson. Today the group employs 150 staff in London and a further 65 around the world.

Thames and Hudson logo.svg
Thames and Hudson logomark.svg
Founded1949
FoundersWalter Neurath and Eva Neurath
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationHigh Holborn
Distribution
Publication typesBooks
Official websitewww.thamesandhudson.com

Thames & Hudson was founded in 1949 by Walter and Eva Neurath. Their passion and mission was to create a ‘museum without walls’ and to make accessible to a large reading public the world of art and the research of top scholars. To reflect its international outlook the name for the company linked the rivers flowing through London and New York, represented in its logo by two dolphins symbolizing friendship and intelligence, one facing east, one west, suggesting a connection between the Old World and the New. Today, still an independent, family-owned company, Thames & Hudson is one of the world’s leading publishers of illustrated books with over 2,000 titles in print. [3]

HistoryEdit

Walter Neurath was born in Vienna in 1903, and ran an art gallery and published illustrated books there.[4] In 1938, he left for London, where he initially worked as production director of Adprint, a London book-packaging company established by fellow Viennese émigré Wolfgang Foges.[5] While at Adprint, Neurath designed and produced the hardback King Penguin Books, and developed the book series Britain in Pictures which integrated images with text rather than separating them into "plates" sections.[5][4]

Neurath and Foges helped pioneer the concept of book packaging and co-edition publishing, in which book ideas are conceived, commissioned, produced and sold to publishers operating in different markets, different countries, and in different languages in order to create large print-runs and thereby lower unit production costs.[6]

Wishing to take book packaging and international publication further,[6] and recognizing the need to amortize the high production costs of illustrated books, in 1949 Neurath established his own publishing house, incorporating offices in London and New York, and named the company Thames & Hudson to indicate it would publish in both British and North American markets.[5] Eva Feuchtwang (later Eva Neurath), who had arrived with her second husband in London from Berlin in 1939, was co-founder;[5] she married Neurath in 1953.[7]

Thames & Hudson published ten titles in its first year of 1950, including English Cathedrals with photographs by Martin Hürlimann, and Albert Einstein’s Out of My Later Years.

Within five years, annual publication grew from ten titles in 1950 to 144 in 1955. Thames & Hudson outgrew its High Holborn offices and moved in 1956 to 30 Bloomsbury Street, just off Bedford Square, then the centre of book publishing in London. It remained at that address until 1999, when it returned to High Holborn.

In 1958, Thames & Hudson launched one of its best-known series, the World of Art. Pocket-sized and with black spines, the series grew to 49 titles within seven years, and has currently produced over 300 titles.

Other major series that imparted depth and prestige to the list were Ancient People and Places, edited by Glyn Daniel, who from the 1950s helped to pioneer a wider interest in archaeology, both in book form and on television. More than 100 titles were published in the series over a 34-year period. The large-format Great Civilizations series, published from 1961, featured contributions by such esteemed academics as Alan Bullock, Asa Briggs, Hugh Trevor-Roper, A. J. P. Taylor and John Julius Norwich.

Having built one of the most important publishing houses in Europe in less than two decades, Walter Neurath died in 1967 at the age of 63. Sculptor Henry Moore wrote that ‘his death [was] a loss to our cultural life’. Sir Herbert Read observed that Neurath ‘more than any other single individual [was] responsible for the revolution in the publishing of art books’ and was ‘one of those rare entrepreneurs who successfully combine business acumen with idealism’.

Eva Neurath became chairman. Walter’s son, Thomas, who with his sister Constance had joined the company in 1961, became managing director; Constance later served as art director for several decades. Both Thomas and Constance remain on the Board at Thames & Hudson, as do Thomas’s daughters, Johanna and Susanna. [8]

InnovationEdit

From producing the first commercial edition of The Book of Kells to the triumphant publication of the six-volume Vincent van Gogh – The Letters, from such technical innovations as ‘French folds’ to the then controversial documentation of graffiti art in Subway Art, Thames & Hudson has always been at the vanguard, both culturally and in its production techniques.

In March 2020, Thames & Hudson unveiled its new Pentagram-designed identity and a new look for its signature World of Art series. Relaunched with the tagline ‘See the arts through expert eyes’, the World of Art now carries a bold new look created by Dutch design studio Kummer & Herrman. The cover design features fluid shapes based on a grid inspired by the Golden Ratio, the system of mathematical proportion believed for millennia to be the secret of aesthetic harmony in nature, art and design.

The world of art and scholarship continues to be at the heart of Thames & Hudson’s publishing programme, which also remains true to its founding principle: to provide a ‘museum without walls.’ [9]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Thames & Hudson Australia: Booksellers Page". Thames and Hudson Australia | Illustrated Books | Homepage. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  2. ^ Thames and Hudson, Google Books.
  3. ^ "Thames & Hudson official site".
  4. ^ a b Rosenthal, T. G. (8 October 2009). "Neurath, Walter". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/60042. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d Unwin, Peter (2013). "Eva Neurath". Newcomers' Lives: The Story of Immigrants as Told in Obituaries from The Times. A & C Black.
  6. ^ a b Hirschfeld, Gerhard; Newman, Aubrey; Pulzer, Peter; Paucker, Arnold (1991). Second Chance: Two Centuries of German-speaking Jews in the United Kingdom. Mohr Siebeck. p. 200.
  7. ^ W. Rubinstein; Michael A. Jolles (27 January 2011). The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 718. ISBN 978-0-230-30466-6.
  8. ^ "Thames & Hudson official site".
  9. ^ "Thames & Hudson official site".

External linksEdit