Some people travel for a good time, others do it because of an obsession–climbing the world’s tallest peaks or seeing every Vermeer painting. Our latest selection for Just Booked (our series on gorgeous coffee table books) is Dragons & Pagodas: A Celebration of Chinoiserie and it’s a way of traveling the world through a double layer of obsession. The book is a world tour based on the author Aldous Bertram’s obsession with chinoiserie, which itself was a 17th and 18th century design craze based on a European obsession with the Far East.
The book, published by Vendome, is a visual delight, which is no surprise to anybody who is familiar with Bertram through his curated Instagram feed. Dragons & Pagodas traces the history of chinoiserie and the variety this obsession produced, whether it be elegant bathrooms in Wales, tea houses in Rhode Island, or wonders like the pyramid ceiling in Lisbon’s Santos Palace.
Bertram has managed to produce a coffee table book that will make you not only whip out a notepad to write down all the palaces and houses you now simply must visit, but also leaves you far more knowledgeable about such an influential and lasting component of the decorative art world.