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Thames & Hudson

  • The emigrants Eva Feuchtwang (later Eva Neurath) and Walter Neurath founded the Thames & Hudson publishing house in 1949, which published art history books, photo books and collection catalogues.
  • Name:
    Thames & Hudson
  • Kind of Organisation:
    Publishing House
  • Introduction:

    The emigrants Eva Feuchtwang (later Eva Neurath) and Walter Neurath founded the Thames & Hudson publishing house in 1949, which published art history books, photo books and collection catalogues.

    Word Count: 28

  • Content:

    The Thames & Hudson publishing house was founded in 1949 by the emigrants Eva Feuchtwang (later Eva Neurath) and Walter Neurath. Walter Neurath emigrated to London in 1938 from Vienna, where he was already active as a publisher. Eva Feuchtwang came to the city on the Thames after fleeing Berlin in 1939, and named the publishing house after two rivers: London’s River Thames and New York’s Hudson River. The London-New York allusion was intended to refer to the publishing house’s international orientation; Thames & Hudson was geared from the outset to “co-publishing internationally, and thus being able to sell books at a price affordable to all” (Nyburg 2019b, 30). To make this possible, the publisher focused on the visuals in the design of its internationally oriented titles, with blank text boxes in which texts in the relevant language could be placed. A particularly successful international title was The Dawn of Civilization. The first world survey of human cultures in early times (1961) by Stuart Piggott, which was published in eight languages and achieved 200,000 sales. This challenging project was supervised by the émigré Werner Guttmann, a publishing production collaborator (Nyburg 2014, 176). From the very beginning, Thames & Hudson pursued its own book aesthetic, in which text and image were placed on a single page or across a double page spread, i.e. the illustrations did not appear in a separate panel section. In addition, high-quality colour illustrations were used early on (Rosenthal 2009, 117).

    Thames & Hudson quickly became the leading house for art books in England. Initially based at 244 High Holborn, the publishing house moved to new premises at 30 Bloomsbury Street in 1954, in close proximity to the British Museum and in a traditional London publishing neighbourhood. Later, the publisher also acquired the house at 32 Bloomsbury Street. Walter Neurath and Eva Feuchtwang had already worked together at the Adprint publishing house, where Neurath was successfully responsible for the series “Britain in Pictures”, which was conceived by Adprint and published by Williams Collins from 1941. Adprint’s founder, Wolfgang Foges, was an emigrant, as were many of the company’s employees, including Ruth Rosenberg, who came from Ullstein in Berlin and worked in picture research (Nyburg 2014, 152). Eva Feuchtwang and Walter Neurath’s new publishing house, Thames & Hudson, initially focused on historical subjects. One of their successful title, that ran to numerous editions, was English Cathedrals (1950) which featured photographs by the Swiss photographer Martin Hürlimann. In addition, the company produced collection catalogues for international museums such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Prado in Madrid and the Szépművészeti Múzeum in Budapest: Art Treasures from the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Presented (1952), Art Treasures of the Prado Museum (1954) and Collection of the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts 14th-18th centuries (1957).

    Over time, many titles on classical European modernism were added, with titles on Picasso, Van Gogh and Cézanne. Several books on Picasso were published over the course of the company’s first ten years, including Wilhelm Boecks Picasso (1955), Hans Bollingers Picasso’s Vollard Suite (1956) and Picasso. A Study of his Work (1956) by Frank Elgar. Thames & Hudson also published a book by the American art historian Meyer Shapiro quite early on. Thames & Hudson began its “World of Art” series in 1958, which has produced some 300 titles to date and was intended to convey art to a lay audience. With this venture, Thames & Hudson anticipated something that has been successfully pursued by the Taschen publishing house since the 1980s: the multilingual and inexpensive take-away art book for everyone.

    An important, because respected and well-connected, author for Thames & Hudson and the “World of Art” series was the art historian and art critic Herbert Read, who early on championed condemned art and emigrated artists – for example, through his involvement in the 20th Century German Art exhibition (1938) at the New Burlington Galleries. Read had published several books with Faber & Faber and, from 1959, published his manuscripts as survey works on modern art with Thames & Hudson, including A Concise History of Modern Painting (1959), A Consice History of Modern Sculpture (1964) and The Styles of European Art (1965). As an author with a publishing house with a large audience, Herbert Read was able to tap into a broad readership.

    In the context of emigration, apart from the emigration experience of the publishers themselves, a few observations can be made: with the publication of Albert Einstein’s Out of My Later Years (1950), which contains texts from Einstein’s time in exile, Thames & Hudson opened up to non-art topics of socio-political relevance in the first years after its foundation. Books such as Wolfgang Suschitzky’s Kingdom of the Beasts (1956, text by Julian Huxley) and Animal Babies (1957) offered Suschitzky’s animal photographs a different publishing environment than the Focal Press publishing house, where Suschitzky published guides on children and animal photography. At Thames & Hudson, his photographs appeared mostly as full-page photogravures and thus as a photo book among art books. In 1957 Suschitzky’s Animal Babies and the art books Marc Chagall by Walter Eben and Jean Arp by Carola Giedion-Welcker were all published with Thames & Hudson.

    The art book publisher Phaidon, established in London in 1938 by the Viennese émigrés Béla Horovitz and Ludwig Goldscheider, also published books with a broad appeal, including The Story of Art (1950) by Ernst H. Gombrich. Phaidon also aimed to publish its books in multiple languages, meaning that the two publishing houses were in competition. Interestingly, Béla Horovitz of Phaidon and Thames & Hudson’s Walter Neurath were already acquainted with one another from their pre-exile days in Vienna (Nyburg 2014, 191). Both publishing houses are still in existence today.

    Word Count: 949

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    244 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1 (1949–1954); 30/32 Bloomsbury Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1 (1954–).

  • Signature Image:
    Julian Huxley and Wolf Suschitzky. Kingdom of the Beasts. Thames & Hudson, 1956, bastard title (METROMOD Archive).
  • Media:
    Julian Huxley and Wolf Suschitzky. Kingdom of the Beasts. Thames & Hudson, 1956, pp. 157–158 (© The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky)
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Neurath, Eva. Was ich meinen Enkeln noch erzählen wollte. Kindheit und Jugend in Berlin, Emigrantin in London, Das Lebenswerk: Thames & Hudson. Translated by Ursula Wulfekamp, Schirmer Mosel, 2017.

    Nyburg, Anna. Émigrés. The Transformation of Art Publishing in Britain. Phaidon, 2014.

    Nyburg, Anna. “Émigré Art Publishers.” Insiders Outsiders. Refugees from Nazi Europe and their Contribution to British Visual Culture, edited by Monica Bohm-Duchen, Lund Humphries, 2019a, pp. 115–119.

    Nyburg, Anna. “Thames & Hudson.” Brave New Visions. The Émigrés who transformed the British Art World, exh. cat. Sotheby’s, St. George’s Gallery, London, 2019b, p. 30. issuu, https://issuu.com/bravenewvisions/docs/brave_new_visions. Accessed 12 March 2021.

    Rosenthal, Tom. “Walter and Eva Neurath: Their Books Married Words with Pictures.” Immigrant Publishers. The Impact of Expatriate Publishers in Britain and America in the 20th Century, edited by Richard Abel and Gordon Graham, Transaction Publishers, 2009, pp. 111–122. Taylor & Francis, doi: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203789087. Accessed 24 March 2021.

    Word Count: 152

  • Author:
    Burcu Dogramaci
  • Date of Founding:
    1949
  • Participants (selection):

    Eva Neurath (née Itzig, married Feuchtwang), Walter Neurath

  • Metropolis:
    London
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Thames & Hudson." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/1470/object/5145-11259850, last modified: 07-03-2023.
  • Julian Huxley
    ZoologistPhilosopherWriter
    London

    Julian Huxley was the director of London Zoo from 1935 to 1942 and worked closely with emigrant photographers, artists and architects, including Berthold Lubetkin, Erna Pinner and Wolf Suschitzky.

    Word Count: 27

    Wolf Suschitzky
    PhotographerCinematographer
    London

    The Viennese Wolf Suschitzky made a career as a photographer and cinematographer after emigrating to London in 1935.

    Word Count: 17

    Herbert Read
    Art HistorianArt CriticPoet
    London

    The British art historian Herbert Read established himself as a central figure in the London artistic scene in the 1930s and was one of the outstanding supporters of exiled artists.

    Word Count: 30

    The Story of Art
    Book
    London

    The Story of Art by the émigré art historian Ernst H. Gombrich was published in 1950 with Phaidon Press. The book is a comprehensive and accessible introduction to visual culture.

    Word Count: 29

    Faber & Faber
    Publishing House
    London

    Faber & Faber shows the importance of publishing houses as supporters of contemporary art movements and of the contribution of emigrants, helping to popularise their art and artistic theories.

    Word Count: 29

    20th Century German Art
    Exhibition
    London

    The 20th Century German Art exhibition of 1938 gave visibility to artists who had been defamed at the Munich exhibition Entartete Kunst and were persecuted by the National Socialist regime.

    Word Count: 29