London in Fragments
A Mudlark's Treasures
'A beautiful book.' Daily Mail
'Exhilaratingly curious.' Evening Standard
'Brilliant.' Penelope Lively
'Indefatigably researched.' Country Life
'Beautifully illustrated.' Monocle
Mudlarking, the act of searching the Thames foreshore for items of value, has a long tradition in England's capital. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, mudlarks were small boys grubbing a living from scrap. Today's mudlarks unearth relics of the past from the banks of the Thames which tell stories of Londoners throughout history. From Roman tiles to elegant Georgian pottery, presented here are modern-day mudlark Ted Sandling's most evocative finds, gorgeously photographed. Together they create a mosaic of everyday London life through the centuries, touching on the journeys, pleasures, vices, industries, adornments and comforts of a world city. This unique and stunning book celebrates the beauty of small things, and makes sense of the intangible connection that found objects give us to the individuals who lost them.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"the book is packed with plenty of shard photographs covering a range of styles, decorative techniques and vessel function"
"if...you like to dip in and out of our capital's heritage [this book] is a wonderful companion" -- Karen Tooth * London Potters News * "Sandling's aim is to increase inquisitiveness, and he undoubtedly achieves this."
"Sandling tells us not only what the pieces are but also how they feel in the hand. He notes the smallest details."
"...as Sandling writes, 'modernity doesn't exist on the foreshore'. The river is 'no respecter of chronology', and Sandling mimics its eddying rhythm, arranging his finds by theme rather than age."
"...the significance of these fragments lies in the stories they tell us about the everyday lives of the people to whom there are no monuments or blue plaques." -- Sabhbh Curran * Times Literary Supplement * 'I found a distinct frisson running through me as I read this book... [Mudlarking] is free to anyone, although many readers, I suspect, will be happy that Ted Sandling has done it for them... Each [find] has been indefatigably researched... The surviving words on a tiny, 19th-century type block found at Vauxhall read like poetry: "GOLD Handsome... graved, and... Pearls and fine... lustrous Gems." They could stand as a motto to the book. To the mudlark, every Waldorf Hotel teacup or lead-glazed pipkin handle is a jewel.' -- Clive Aslet * Country Life * 'Beautifully illustrated' * Monocle * 'hypnotic - yet infectiously jolly... [Ted Sandling] has a sharp eye and aesthetic appreciation for the fragments of objects that now surface in the gravel and mud. The detailed photos of his finds are gripping... Among the billionaire property speculation apartment blocks, this is the opposite of uncanny: the sense of continuity instead makes you a little tearful.' -- Sinclair McKay * Spectator * 'Exhilaratingly curious and entertainingly knowledgeable, Sandling is especially good at following the fractals of his eclectic finds...each object beautifully photographed... He is a fine observer, too, of the potent flawed beauty of his hoard of rescued treasure... With handsome photography, an introduction by Iain Sinclair and a chapter of excellent practical advice for would-be mudlarkers, this book is an indispensable vade-mecum for anyone who has ever been tempted to explore the secrets that lie hidden in plain sight on the shores of London's great river.' -- Jane Shilling * Evening Standard * '[a] beautiful book...the words Sandling unearths are as delightful as the objects he describes.' * Daily Mail *