24 books like Beauty in Thorns

By Kate Forsyth,

Here are 24 books that Beauty in Thorns fans have personally recommended if you like Beauty in Thorns. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Girl with a Pearl Earring

Rebecca D'Harlingue Author Of The Map Colorist

From my list on 17th-century women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I find the seventeenth century fascinating, and both of my novels are set in that period. The century was a time of great flux, and I am especially interested in exploring the kinds of things that women might have done, even though their accomplishments weren’t recorded. There is a wonderful article by novelist Rachel Kadish called “Writing the Lives of Forgotten Women,” in which she refers to Hilary Mantel’s comments that people whose lives are not recorded fall through the sieve of history. Kadish says that, “Lives have run through the sieve, but we can catch them with our hands.” These novels all attempt to do that.

Rebecca's book list on 17th-century women

Rebecca D'Harlingue Why did Rebecca love this book?

This book was a phenomenon when it came out, and with good reason.

Chevalier’s words paint a picture of the life of a young girl, Griet, who is working in the house of the artist, Johannes Vermeer in 1660s Delft. In the novel, Griet is the model for the famous painting. The relationship between artist and model, and what they do, and don’t, mean to each other, is complex and intriguing.

The way that Chevalier depicts the restrained interactions between the two seems to mimic Vermeer’s restrained yet visually detailed style.

By Tracy Chevalier,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Girl with a Pearl Earring as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of A Single Thread and At the Edge of the Orchard

Translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film, starring Scarlett Johanson and Colin Firth

Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . .…


Book cover of The Art Forger

Elisabeth M. Lee Author Of Young PRB: A Novel of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From my list on artists by non-artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history major and artist I noticed a style of illustrations and paintings that popped up in history books, novels, and poetry collections. I found that the paintings and drawings were just scratching the surface. The lives and struggles of the artists known as Pre-Raphaelites were just as intriguing as the art. I have traveled to the many locations that the Pre-Raphaelites frequented to follow in their footsteps. I've even tried to copy their wet white painting style and was awed by the patience they must have had. I appreciate many art styles and enjoy being transported into the lives of the artists by authors as interested in art and history as I am. 

Elisabeth's book list on artists by non-artists

Elisabeth M. Lee Why did Elisabeth love this book?

Art forgery has always fascinated me. The idea that you can create a 'new' work by an old master and then, maybe, get away with it. Claire is a struggling artist whose one chance at fame had been stolen by a lover. Reduced to painting reproductions of famous paintings for clients to hang in their home she is approached by an art dealer to secretly forge a Degas painting. The money is good enough to silence her scruples and when the painting arrives she immediately recognizes that it is one of the paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. Already she is having doubts but after beginning her study of the painting she suspects that it, too, is a forgery. Forged art has never been so compelling.

By B.A. Shapiro,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Art Forger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - still the largest unsolved art theft in history - one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece - the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years - may…


Book cover of The Flanders Panel

Elisabeth M. Lee Author Of Young PRB: A Novel of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From my list on artists by non-artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history major and artist I noticed a style of illustrations and paintings that popped up in history books, novels, and poetry collections. I found that the paintings and drawings were just scratching the surface. The lives and struggles of the artists known as Pre-Raphaelites were just as intriguing as the art. I have traveled to the many locations that the Pre-Raphaelites frequented to follow in their footsteps. I've even tried to copy their wet white painting style and was awed by the patience they must have had. I appreciate many art styles and enjoy being transported into the lives of the artists by authors as interested in art and history as I am. 

Elisabeth's book list on artists by non-artists

Elisabeth M. Lee Why did Elisabeth love this book?

An art mystery, a murder mystery. What more could you ask for?

In Madrid, a noted art restorer Julia has received a painting that is itself an intriguing mystery. A fifteenth-century Flemish painting of a Knight and a Duke playing chess. Julia finds hidden under the paint the inscription Who Killed the Knight? That is a secret that was not meant to be revealed. This book is pre-internet so research is leg work. A cast of devious and delightful characters help and hinder Julia's quest to find the answers she seeks and try to avoid becoming a victim of her curiosity. I love the descriptions of art restoration, the ambiance, and the night owl lifestyle of the characters. 

By Arturo Perez-Reverte, Margaret Jull Costa (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Flanders Panel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The clue to a murder in the art world of contemporary Madrid lies hidden in a medieval painting of a game of chess.

In a 15th-century Flemish painting two noblemen are pictured playing chess. Yet two years before he could sit for the portrait, one of them was murdered. In 20th-century Madrid, Julia, a picture restorer preparing the painting for auction, uncovers a hidden inscription in Latin that points to the crime: Quis necavit equitem? Who killed the knight? But as she teams up with a brilliant chess theoretician to retrace the moves, she discovers the deadly game is not…


Book cover of As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel

Elisabeth M. Lee Author Of Young PRB: A Novel of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From my list on artists by non-artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history major and artist I noticed a style of illustrations and paintings that popped up in history books, novels, and poetry collections. I found that the paintings and drawings were just scratching the surface. The lives and struggles of the artists known as Pre-Raphaelites were just as intriguing as the art. I have traveled to the many locations that the Pre-Raphaelites frequented to follow in their footsteps. I've even tried to copy their wet white painting style and was awed by the patience they must have had. I appreciate many art styles and enjoy being transported into the lives of the artists by authors as interested in art and history as I am. 

Elisabeth's book list on artists by non-artists

Elisabeth M. Lee Why did Elisabeth love this book?

As Peter Bruegel stands in the Sistine Chapel admiring Michelangelo’s work he realizes he could never compete with one who works in the heavens – above. He will confine himself to the below the common man. We follow Bruegel and his friends on his journeys, his daily life, and the inspiration he finds in the everyday world around him. His peasants are peasants. Their daily toil is not romanticized. Their feasts consist of rural fare.  Even his religious art is not idealized. It is wonderful to imagine that the author has walked in Bruegel's shoes. Rudy Rucker is a professor of math and computer science but his extensive research has brought to life an artist who left very little of his own life to history.  

By Rudy Rucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As Above, So Below as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Peter Bruegel's paintings - a peasant wedding in a barn, hunters in the snow, a rollicking street festival, and many others - have long defined our idea of everyday life in 16th Century Europe. In sixteen chapters Rucker brings Bruegel's painter's progress and his colourful world to vibrant life doing for Bruegel what GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING did for Vermeer. We follow the artist from the winding streets of Antwerp and Brussels to the glowing skies and decaying monuments of Rome.


Book cover of Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood

Kirsty Stonell Walker Author Of Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang: Fifty Makers, Shakers and Heartbreakers from the Victorian Era

From my list on aspiring Pre-Raphaelite women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I absolutely love the Pre-Raphaelites, they are my utter passion and these books are the fuel for that fire. Who wouldn't want to be a Pre-Raphaelite woman? Smart, talented, resourceful, these women define what it is to make a mark and great some of the most ground-breaking art in history. I'm particularly obsessed with Pre-Raphaelite women, the artists and muses who created the art we love so much today. After spending almost 30 years researching their lives and loves, it's now my absolute pleasure in telling everyone about these astonishing women, and why we should love them and learn from them.

Kirsty's book list on aspiring Pre-Raphaelite women

Kirsty Stonell Walker Why did Kirsty love this book?

This is the book that ignited my interest in the Pre-Raphaelite circle and the women who inspired them. Jan Marsh is Pre-Raphaelite royalty when it comes to art history and her work is both pioneering and inspiring.  She has gone such a long way to uncover the hidden lives of these incredibly important women and those who have followed her owe her a great deal. This is the book that marked when the women began to be taken as seriously as the men.

By Jan Marsh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who were those women who sat for the Pre-Raphaelite painters? Muses to an exclusively male genius, of tragic stature and uncertain health - were they indeed as passive as their portrait painters and their critics contrived to suggest? Jan Marsh reveals the actual lives behind the myth of the Pre-Raphaelite women: Elizabeth Siddal, Emma Brown, Annie Miller, Fannie Cornforth, Jane Morris and Georgina Burne-Jones. A meticulous testimony, this book records the rare vitality of these gifted and ambitious women. Delivering them from a century of masculine misrepresentation, Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood is a fascinating tribute to their spirit of independence in circumstances…


Book cover of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Portraits of Women

Kirsty Stonell Walker Author Of Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang: Fifty Makers, Shakers and Heartbreakers from the Victorian Era

From my list on aspiring Pre-Raphaelite women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I absolutely love the Pre-Raphaelites, they are my utter passion and these books are the fuel for that fire. Who wouldn't want to be a Pre-Raphaelite woman? Smart, talented, resourceful, these women define what it is to make a mark and great some of the most ground-breaking art in history. I'm particularly obsessed with Pre-Raphaelite women, the artists and muses who created the art we love so much today. After spending almost 30 years researching their lives and loves, it's now my absolute pleasure in telling everyone about these astonishing women, and why we should love them and learn from them.

Kirsty's book list on aspiring Pre-Raphaelite women

Kirsty Stonell Walker Why did Kirsty love this book?

One of the founder members of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, is inextricably linked to the women in his life. His beautiful portraits of his sister, wife, and lovers are some of the most recognisable images of the Pre-Raphaelite movement but this wonderful book goes further, uncovering the lives of these women and the context behind these iconic images. 

By Debra Mancoff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dante Gabriel Rossetti as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), best known and admired for his striking and seductive portraits of women, was one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of artists whose work is inspired by the art of the early Italian Renaissance. Rossetti's powerful and unconventional portraits, with their sumptuous, jewel-like colours, are explored in this beautiful gift book. Examples have been drawn from the full range of Rossetti's work - including paintings, drawings, print illustrations, decorative designs and staged photographs - and chart the artist's lively engagement with mythology, history, literature, biblical subjects and modern life.

Rossetti defined his…


Book cover of Beyond the Brotherhood: The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy

Kirsty Stonell Walker Author Of Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang: Fifty Makers, Shakers and Heartbreakers from the Victorian Era

From my list on aspiring Pre-Raphaelite women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I absolutely love the Pre-Raphaelites, they are my utter passion and these books are the fuel for that fire. Who wouldn't want to be a Pre-Raphaelite woman? Smart, talented, resourceful, these women define what it is to make a mark and great some of the most ground-breaking art in history. I'm particularly obsessed with Pre-Raphaelite women, the artists and muses who created the art we love so much today. After spending almost 30 years researching their lives and loves, it's now my absolute pleasure in telling everyone about these astonishing women, and why we should love them and learn from them.

Kirsty's book list on aspiring Pre-Raphaelite women

Kirsty Stonell Walker Why did Kirsty love this book?

The Pre-Raphaelites were not just limited to the Victorian era, and this is a brilliant exhibition catalogue that explores how we are still loving the Pre-Raphaelites today in programmes like Game of Thrones and movies like The Lord of the Rings. It also reveals the way the 1960s responded to deeply unfashionable Pre-Raphaelite art and how important women were to the Pre-Raphaelites past and present.

Book cover of Poet and Painter

Dave McKean Author Of Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash

From my list on Paul Nash.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent two years researching and creating the graphic novel Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash for the 14-18Now Foundations WW1 centenary art commissions, and then touring a live permanence work evolved from the book. We grew up a few miles from each other, and he convalesced after the war where I live now, and I share his sense of place, and we appear to have shared many life experiences, with the obvious exception being his time in the trenches - that was the huge black hole I tried to understand with this work.

Dave's book list on Paul Nash

Dave McKean Why did Dave love this book?

More than any other book, this volume of letters between friends, and the unguarded insight they allow, gave me a sense of the man, his rhythms of speech, his manner of expression and his character. Career details and everyday mundanities mix with deeper concerns and the kind of excavation of ideas only really close and respectful friends can express.

By Claude Colleer, Anthony Bertram,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poet and Painter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book bears witness to the staying power of Pre-Raphaelitism & illuminates the ambivalent, relatively uncritical response in England to the modern movement.


Book cover of The Pre-Raphaelites (World of Art)

Kirsty Stonell Walker Author Of Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang: Fifty Makers, Shakers and Heartbreakers from the Victorian Era

From my list on aspiring Pre-Raphaelite women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I absolutely love the Pre-Raphaelites, they are my utter passion and these books are the fuel for that fire. Who wouldn't want to be a Pre-Raphaelite woman? Smart, talented, resourceful, these women define what it is to make a mark and great some of the most ground-breaking art in history. I'm particularly obsessed with Pre-Raphaelite women, the artists and muses who created the art we love so much today. After spending almost 30 years researching their lives and loves, it's now my absolute pleasure in telling everyone about these astonishing women, and why we should love them and learn from them.

Kirsty's book list on aspiring Pre-Raphaelite women

Kirsty Stonell Walker Why did Kirsty love this book?

The first time I saw a Pre-Raphaelite painting, I was immediately besotted and this was the first book I could find on the subject. Despite being over half a century old, this is the best starting book, filled with images and engagingly written, which will lead to a life-long passion for the subject. It's a handy size and like all the T&H World of Art books, it's an essential part of your Pre-Raphaelite library.

By Timothy Hilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pre-Raphaelites (World of Art) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The works of the Pre-Raphaelites are among the best known and best loved of all English paintings, and yet there has long been a tendency to dismiss them as mere Victoriana, and to deny them their proper status as works of art. This pioneering critical history places the movement in its historical setting, relating the individual painters and their art to the larger concerns of 19th-century society. Virtually every Pre-Raphaelite painting is discussed in detail and illustrated here, including works by the best known - Holman Hunt, Rossetti and Millais - and the movement's many minor talents.


Book cover of The Practice of Oil Painting and Drawing

Robh Ruppel Author Of Graphic L.A.

From my list on timeless art advice.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the “meme-ification” of the world, the long-form version of learning and practicing skills is getting lost. True discovery happens after a thorough and deep understanding of the subject. Truth is a multilayered, complex exploration that is hard to sum up in a single sentence. 

Robh's book list on timeless art advice

Robh Ruppel Why did Robh love this book?

This book offers the technical breakdown of painting in grisaille. I only know of a few books that cover it and this one was written by an amazing painter! This was the common practice of Bouguereau and Gerome and is thoroughly explained in this particular volume as well and the rendering of planar “facets.” The practice of grisaille is an important phase in painting. The separation of color and form is partly why so many of the “masters” had such control over form and value.

By Solomon J. Solomon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Practice of Oil Painting and Drawing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This instructive volume introduces not only the techniques of oil painting but also the underlying principles of figure drawing. Written by a distinguished Pre-Raphaelite painter, portraitist, and book illustrator, the treatment begins by explaining the construction of the figure, head, and limbs. Succeeding chapters illustrate these teachings with examples of images by the Old Masters, including paintings from the Italian, Dutch, Spanish, French, and British schools.
The Birmingham Daily Post pronounced this volume "probably the most useful handbook for art students that has yet been published." Students at every level of expertise will benefit from its discourses on light and…


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