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Architecture & History of Art: Tony Baggs Collection

Header panel for the Tony Baggs collection page.

An important bequest from Tony Baggs was received in 2006 by the Faculty Library. The collection consists of more than 250 books, guides, maps. Most of the books are on architecture, history of architecture, art, history of art and places of historical interest in Eastern Europe. The collection covers material that was published during the Soviet era of the history of Eastern Europe from 1960s onwards and it also covers the general history of art and architecture of the region. In many ways it is a very valuable collection for those who would like to learn more about peculiarities of architecture and history of art of Poland, Russia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Montenegro and the Czech Republic.

The majority of the collection consists of 184 books from Poland, 33 books from Russia and some from Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic and other parts of the Eastern Europe.


Poland

Books about Poland, its history, history of art and architecture make up a bulk of the collection. Zamki w Polsce (“Castles in Poland”) by Bohdan Guerquin (Warszawa, 1984) introduces the reader to castles in Poland, their history and architectural peculiarities. A beautifully-illustrated book Kosciol Mariacki w Krakowie (Church of the Virgin Mary in Krakow) was published in Warsaw in 1987. The book is full of photographs and illustrations of architectural details of this famous Church. Among other books on Poland you can find The Polish Renaissance in its European context (Indianapolis, 1988) edited by Samuel Fiszman, Wilanow by Jacek Cydzik (Warszawa, 1975) and 180 other books.

Russia

Moscow: architectural monuments of the 1830-1910’s by E. Kirichenko was published in Moscow in 1977. This book tells us the history of architecture of Moscow from the 1830’s to the 1910’s. This is a period in which Moscow presented an impressive sight of a Russian historical city undergoing intensive urbanization, when in the turmoil of clashing opinions new architectural concepts were born, multi-storey buildings, railway stations, plants and factories, mansions and theatres sprang up. The book is full of photos of the most prominent buildings. It is in both English and Russian. Galeria Malarastwa w Ermitazu was published in Warsaw in 1977. It is a catalogue of masterpieces of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. The collection of the Museum is famous for its works of art from all over the world. The book is well-illustrated and gives a general idea of the treasures of the biggest museum in Russia. It is in Polish. The Tretyakov Gallery –Moscow: painting was published in Moscow in 1974 and compiled by V. Volodarsky. The Tretyakov Gallery is well-known for its unique collection of Russian and multinational Soviet and post-Soviet art which comprises more than seventy thousand paintings, drawings and sculptures. This book is in English. Palmyra of the North: the first days of St Petersburg by Christopher Marsden (London, 1943) and Land of the Soviets by James S. Gregory (Harmondsworth, 1946) are both books of great interest too. They are both in English. The collection contains 28 more books on art and architecture of Moscow, St Petersburg, Kostroma, Pskov, Pavlovsk, Petrodvoretz and other places of interest in Russia.

Hungary

Renaissance architecture in Hungary by Rozsa Feuer-Toth was published in Budapest in 1977. Based on her research findings, Rozsa Feuer-Toth presents the techniques and practice of Renaissance architecture in Hungary, the activities of outstanding foreign and native craftsmen and the monuments themselves, some of which unfortunately have survived only in fragments. Historical monuments in Hungary. Restoration and preservation by Dezso Dercsenyi (Budapest, 1969) is another interesting monograph. The former Deputy Head of the National inspectorate of Historical Monuments gives an overview of the preservation of historical monuments in Hungary and includes photographs of the most significant and beautiful of the restored buildings. Among other books in the collection on Hungary you can browse through. The Budapest Gallery: paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest, 1977) by Klara Garas.

Czech Republic

Prague in pictures (Prague, 1960) by Karel Pliska is a striking collection of photos of Prague of the middle of the 20th century. Praha. Matka mest (Prague, 1968) by Bohumil Landisch is a monograph about historical places in Prague. The author shows the beauty of Prague. The proximity of different architectural styles increases its enchantment. Past centuries, once divided by the abyss of time, now breathe calmly next to one another... In the book Gothic art in Bohemia and Moravia (London, 1971) Albert Kutal – the eminent Czech art historian, assesses the important Czech contribution to Gothic art and architecture, and reveals why Bohemia and Moravia held a leading position in medieval European culture. Outstanding masterpieces of Czech Gothic art can be seen in the 183 illustrations which accompany Professor Kutal’s text.

Romania

Romanian Painting (Bucharest, 1982) by Vasile Florea is a brief and comprehensive illustrated survey that provides data about Romanian artists and the succession of periods and cultures in this part of Europe. The book provides a groundwork for valuation of various aspects of the Romanian painting. Architectura in Romania (Bucharest, 1965) by Gustav Gusti presents the Romanian architecture of the 1960s to the reader from the economic, social and cultural changes that occurred in the life of the Romanian people at that time. Histoire de l’Architecture en Romanie (Bucharest, 1972) by Grigore Ionescu is another interesting monograph on the architectural peculiarities of Romania.

Bulgaria

Bulgarian Monasteries (Sofia, 1974) edited by Assen Vassiliev is an album of descriptions of 76 Bulgarian famous monasteries. The description of these monasteries provides information on each of them and introduces the reader to the cultural heritage of the Bulgarian people. Bulgaria in Antiquity: an archaeological introduction (London, 1975) is an extensive research of antiquities, of excavations and other reports. Most of the plans and photographs of art treasures were published for the first time in this book for readers in the West to see.

Montenegro

The art treasures of Herceg-Novi by Lazar Seferovic introduces the reader to the cultural and art values possessed by the people of Herceg-Novi, the capital of Montenegro, and its surroundings. It describes monasteries, churches, museums, treasures and galleries of Herceg-Novi.

Latvia

The Art Nouveau: architecture of Riga (Riga) by Janic Krastins is about the Art Nouveau architectural style that emerged around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The central district of Riga is an urban ensemble inscribed on the World Heritage List. “The Art Nouveau buildings are music in stone, where every detail is subordinated to the basic idea…”

Georgia

The arts of Ancient Georgia (London, 1979) by Rusuadan Mepisashvili and Vakhtang Tsintsadze is a comprehensive study of the evolution of Georgian art from the Bronze Age to the threshold of modern times. It is a well-illustrated book where the reader can enjoy the beauty and peculiarities of Georgian art.

All in all, the Tony Baggs collection gives the Faculty Library a most valuable asset.

Tony Baggs (1934-2006) was an archaeologist and architectural historian. He was one of the country’s most respected building archaeologists of the 20th century. Recognised as a distinguished scholar, he served on many committees and was President of the Royal Archaeological Institute (1992) and chairman of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain. He lived in Cambridge and became a regular supervisor of dissertations in the Department of Architecture. It was through this connection that he became a founding member of the Cambridge Historical Buildings Group based in the Martin Centre. Tony Baggs had a life long interest in Eastern European architecture. We are very pleased to be able to display this collection in the Faculty Library on Stack 28 in the basement.

 

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