Review: Taschen's London

londonJust in time for Christmas comes this oversized tome, heavy with luxe photos and whimsical illustrations. Awash in royal purple, the book’s stock is satisfying weighty and the pages even come tabulated — like the most lavish book of wallpaper samples. Tabs also suggest reference, but that’s merely a conceit because this 4-pounder isn’t so much a guidebook as the ultimate bedside companion for the armchair traveler.  So, go ahead — lie back, and think of England. Divided into hotels, restaurants, and shops — each more veddy,veddy than the next — Taschen’s London (the copy by Christine Samuelian is nicely descriptive and never overly fawning) pays homage to classic hosteleries like The Dorchester, Claridge‘s and Brown‘s and her majesty’s purveyors such as Penhaligons (fragrances, since 1870), James Smith & Sons (brollies, since 1830), and Smythson (stationery, since 1887). Natch, the newer favorites of Cool Britannia are not neglected, see boutique hotels such as The Hempel, all white and rattan, and shops like Topshop and Stella McCartney. Mouthwatering closeups of cheeses and shoes, of shaving brushes and deerstalker caps pair with glamourous sepia’d exterior shots and sumptuously-hued interiors of silks and leathers and cashmere (photography is by David Crookes). Remember, London isn’t cheap this book gently nudges us — but it is kinda wonderful.

  • Taschen Books
  • $39.95
  • Buy for: Your tweedy uncle or your college-age niece embarking on her first journey overseas.

Buy here: Taschen’s London