Old Buttons

LLewelyn, Sylvia (2012). Old Buttons, Budapest: Tandem Grafikai Stúdió. ISBN 978-915-51940-1-6; softback, 135 pp., fully illustrated in colour. Price: £9.99.

A miniature book filled with useful information about the range of buttons available in the West, basically during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The contents are arranged according to a brief history of buttons, followed by animal matter buttons (bone, horn, shell), vegetable matter buttons (amber, wood, vegetable ivory), precious stone buttons, fabric buttons, ceramic and glass buttons, metal buttons and plastic buttons. The last section on how to identify the various forms of early twentieth century plastics is of particular use. The buttons illustrated are given at a scale of 1:1, which makes understanding their actual dimensions very easy. It is worth noticing that the author of the book, Sylvia Llewelyn, has been running a button shop for many years and has a varied collection of buttons herself. She is currently planning the setting up a button museum in Budapest, Hungary.

Recommendation: This little book will be of interest to anyone who collects buttons as well as those working within the museum world who has to identify nineteenth and twentieth century garments and buttons. The downside to this book is that there is no table of contents or index, so quickly finding information about a specific type of button is not always easy, but it is worth persevering.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

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