Buttons presents more than 1,000 examples of the fine art of button-making. Pictured here are the buttons from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries made from a variety of materials.Charts the button's evolution through paintings, sculptures, carvings & collages.Haughtily beautiful or whimsically irreverent, buttons are a unique mirror of changing fashions in dress and the decorative arts through the centuries.
With a foreword by acclaimed artist Jim Dine and a preface by best-selling author Tom Wolfe, both devoted buttons aficionados, this book appeals to the serious collector and casual enthusiast alike.
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|The Eighteenth Century|
|The Nineteenth Century|
|The Twentieth Century|
|A Note on Button Collections|
As a writer, Diana Epstein focused her attention on buttons. She wrote three books on buttons in collaboration with her partner, Millicent Safro: The Collector's Guide to Buttons, Buttons, and The Button Book. Epstein's obsession with buttons began one afternoon in the early 1960s when she ran an errand to replace some buttons she felt were inferior. The shop where she expected to find proper buttons was closed because the previous owner had died. Epstein, who was always noted for her artistic flair, acted solely on a whim, purchased the inventory of several hundred thousand buttons, dating back to the early 1930s, for $5,000 and she rented the store. A week later Epstein met Millicent Safro, an antique restorer who took pity on Epstein and decided to help her organize the collection. When they sold six buttons one day in the store, they both began doing extensive research into the button-collection business. Their shop, "Tender Buttons," was named from a line from Gertrude Stein. It is a very popular shopping place for the rich and famous of New York, located at 143 East 62nd Street. Epstein grew up in Chicago and was raised by an aunt. She graduated from the University of Chicago and studied at the Chicago Institute of Art. She moved to New York and tried various times to write, but soon settled into editing. This was before that fateful afternoon when she stumbled into her life's work. Epstein died April 3, 1998 at the age of 61.
John Parnell is Professor of Systematic Botany at Trinity College, Dublin.
Tom Wolfe is the author of more than a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and A Man in Full. A Native of Richmond, Virginia, he earned his B. A. at Washington and Lee University and a Ph. D. in American studies at Yale. He lives in New York City.