Book Club


Publishers of award-winning illustrated books on art, history, archaeology, world cultures and more.

Author David Stuttard at the Heffers Classic Festival in Cambridge

The Heffers Classics Festival in Cambridge

Saturday 2nd November 2013, 9:30-18:00

Parthenon cover low-res

Heffers are hosting the annual Heffers Classics Festival with a wealth of celebrities from the worlds of Classics Fact and Fiction.

Be transported back to the ancient world with experts, historians and comedians, as we explore everything from long-forgotten cities, heroes and gods, detectives and villains to current exhibitions

This dynamic day long Festival celebrates the Classical World. The programme is a diverse celebration of all that the Classical world has to offer. The programme this year runs over three streams: facts for the academic historians, philosophers and students; fiction for those of you who like your history stories set in the Classical period and, finally, something for our younger friends with storytelling and interactive fun.

Talking at the event is David Stuttard, author of Power Games: Ritual and Rivalry at the Ancient Olympic Games and co-author of AD410: The Year That Shook Rome and 31 BC: Antony and Cleopatra and the Fall of Egypt.

David will be talking about Greek Tragedy at the Classics Festival, from 3:15-4:15.

David’s new book Parthenon: Power and Politics on the Acropolis is published by British Museum Press this month. Parthenon takes the reader through the dramatic story of the conception and creation of the Parthenon, setting it against a turbulent historical background and rooting the building firmly in the real and mythological landscape of Athens. Written as a pacy, narrative history, the text features a cast of memorable characters, including Themistocles, the general whose decision to evacuate Athens led to the Persian sack of the acropolis; Pericles, visionary statesman and mastermind of the Athens’ building project; and Pheidias, who created the cult statue of Athene, and narrowly escaped impeachment for embezzlement.

Beautifully illustrated with evocative site photography, details from the Parthenon sculptures and other related artworks from the superb collection of the British Museum, this book explores the Parthenon as the spiritual heart of a network of commanding buildings, devised by Pericles and continued by his successors to promote the power of Athens as leader of the Greek world.

Visit the Heffers events page for further details about the Festival and how to book.

Or you can go straight to the ticket page here.

Click here to pre-order David Stuttard’s Parthenon on the British Museum’s website now.

Author Carrie Vout speaks at Heffers shop in Cambridge

Cambridge Heffers Classics Festival Warm-upTuesday, October 15th at 18:30

Join Heffers for a fascinating evening with three authors presenting glimpses from their new books with Q&A afterwards.

Caroline Vout presents Sex on Show: Seeing the erotic in Greece and Rome. Caroline Vout examines the abundance of sexual imagery in Greek and Roman culture. Were these images intended to be shocking, humorous, or exciting? Are they about sex or love? Caroline provides fascinating insights into ancient attitudes toward religion, politics, sex, gender, and the body. They also reveal how the ancients saw themselves and their world, and how subsequent centuries have seen them.

Tim Whitmarsh – Beyond the Second Sophistic. Tim offers new readings of some of the best-known and most influential authors of Greek antiquity, including Sophocles, Euripides, Herodotus, Aristophanes and Plato, as well as introducing many lesser-known figures.

Paul Cartledge – The Oath of Plataea. Through an analysis of this oath, Cartledge provides a wealth of insight into ancient Greek culture.

Visit the Heffers events page for further details about the talk and how to book.

Click here to buy Caroline Vout’s Sex on Show on the British Museum’s website now.

Melanesia book launch

Melanesia: Art and encounter

Introducing a new book from the British Museum

Professor Marilyn Strathern will lead a panel of scholars to discuss this exciting new contribution to the ethnography of the Pacific, followed by a reception with the editor and contributors.

6pm, Friday 11 October, in the Stevenson Theatre of the British Museum

The book will be on sale at a discount.

No booking is required, but an advance note of attendance would be appreciated. Please email

The artistic traditions of Melanesia are among the most rich and diverse of any region of the world, and this book examines them in an unprecedented depth. As the culmination of a five-year research project into the collections of the British Museum, it draws upon the experience of cultural experts and artists from Melanesia and around the world to interpret an enormous range of artefacts.

The book is edited by Lissant Bolton, Nicholas Thomas, Elizabeth Bonshek, Julie Adams and Ben Burt. A total of 57 chapters cover, with editorial introductions, West Papua, Papua New Guinea (north and south), Soloman Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. In dealing with ‘art and encounter’, the book presents the British Museum’s outstanding Melaneisan collections, illustrated by 300 colour photos, in the context of historical relational relationships between Melanesias and Europeans over the past two hundred years.

British Museum Press

ISBN 978 0 7141 256 1
£75 hardback

Click here to buy.

Beyond El Dorado opens soon; preview at Cheltenham Literature Festival

Beyond El Dorado_front cover Lowres SmlA fascinating and unique British Museum exhibition: Beyond El Dorado will be opening 17 October 2013 and running until 23 March 2014.

For centuries Europeans were dazzled by the legend of El Dorado – literally ‘the golden one’. Many different stories were told of El Dorado – sometimes it was imagined as a lost city of gold, sometimes as a man covered in powdered gold who plunged into the middle of Lake Guatavita (near modern Bogotá). The exhibition uncovers the fascinating truth behind some of these myths. Unlike in Europe, gold was not valued as currency in pre-Hispanic Colombia. Instead it had great symbolic meaning, facilitating all kinds of social and spiritual transformations. It was one way the elite could publicly assert their rank, both in life and in death.

The exhibition features over 200 fascinating objects from Museo del Oro, Bogotá, and around 100 from the British Museum’s collection. They show technologically advanced and sophisticated goldworking techniques, including the use of an alloy composed of gold and copper, and the use of textiles, feathers, stones and ceramics. These beautiful and detailed works display a level of complex craftsmanship that perfectly marries art and skill, and show the differences in techniques and designs across the region.

To get the chance to see it you can book your tickets here. The accompanying catalogue is also available to purchase and is published by the British Museum Press.

Beyond El Dorado, by Elisenda Vila Llonch, is published by the British Museum Press in paperback (£19.99). To look inside the book, visit the British Museum online shop.

Elisenda will be giving a preview of the exhibition and book in her talk at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Monday 7 October 2013. Visit the festival’s website to book your tickets.

Elisenda’s book expands on the exhibition and looks at the myths and rituals of El Dorado as well as the uses and importance of gold in the northern Andes.

In fact among the cultures of the northern Andes, gold has been revered above all other materials. Gold was believed to be a product of the Sun, the supreme procreator, and as such had special associations with fertility and power. For the people of Colombia, the value of gold lay in the symbolic and transformative properties associated with its colour, aura and malleability and it was used to fashion some of the most visually dramatic and technically sophisticated works of art found anywhere in the Americas before European contact.