When Roger Boyce's one-hundred work series called The Illustrated History of Painting went on show at Christchurch Art Gallery last year (and served momentarily as a base for high-level pow-wows amongst Brownlee, Key and other members of the quakestocracy), plenty of people noted that the series could become a great book.
And now it has.
Published by Suite Gallery in Wellington, with some Christchurch Art Gallery design and photography lending strength to the equation, the book lays out all hundred paintings at actual size inside a faux-distressed baize-green hardcover. With their jewelled colour and votive scale, not to mention their frequent nods to the history of take-no-prisoners satiric illustration (think Daumier, Posada, Crumb), the paintings are made for the page. And for anyone who has done their time as a reader of 'straight' histories of painting (think Gombrich, Arnasson, Gardner), it's a pleasure to open the covers on a history as beautifully bent as Roger's.
I'll undergo a fate like the little flamer above left if I fail to mention that you can order it from the Christchurch Art Gallery shop.