We were in Venice in April and I was drunk on aquamarine light. It is an airy light, playing with the moving dark surfaces of the canals, shining on stone and marble, bringing both together in changing ways, always aquamarine. I found that an odd thing was happening to me. Every time I closed my eyes - which I increasingly did deliberately - I saw a very English green, a much more yellow green, composed of the light glittering on shaved lawns, and the dense green light in English woods, light vanishing into gnarled tree trunks, flickering on shadows on the layers of summer leaves.
Brilliant and beautiful, this contemplative art book offers a dual biography of artistic geniuses William Morris and Mariano Fortuny. Booker Prize-winning author A. S. Byatt reveals fascinating parallels between the (in many ways) disparate men. (She first notices a correlation between the two during a magical moment in Venice.) With dozens of full-color illustrations and black-and-white photos, Peacock and Vine brings the lives and works of these two extraordinary craftsmen into dazzling focus. (CH)