Wednesday 26 April – 7pm
An event in collaboration with Optometrist (and our neighbour) Ivan R Cammack
‘It will make you look at specs with fresh eyes’ New Statesman
‘Fascinating… an exuberant history of spectacles and those who wear them’ Sunday Times
The humble pair of glasses might just be one the world’s greatest inventions, allowing millions to see a world that might otherwise appear a blur. And yet how much do many of us even really think about these things perched on the ends of our noses?
Through the Looking Glasses traces the fascinating true story of spectacles: from their inception as primitive visual aids to monkish scribes right through to today’s designer eyewear and the augmented reality of Google Glass. There are encounters with ingenious medieval Italian glassmakers, myopic Renaissance rulers and spectacle-makers, as well as the silent movie star Harold Lloyd, the rock n roller Buddy Holly and the full-screen figure of Marilyn Monroe. This is a book about vision and the need for humanity to see clearly, and where the impulse to improve our eyesight has led us.
Travis Elborough joins us upstairs on 26 April to discuss his brilliant book and sign copies of the new paperback edition out on Abacus Books.
‘A brilliantly enjoyable survey… Elborough brings his own experience as a lifelong myope beautifully to bear on his subject’ Guardian
Acclaimed by the Guardian as ‘one of the country’s finest pop culture historians’, Travis Elborough has been a freelance writer, author, broadcaster and cultural commentator for nearly two decades. Elborough’s books include Wish You Were Here: England on Sea, The Long-Player Goodbye, a hymn to vinyl records that inspired the BBC4 documentary When Albums Ruled the World, in which he also appeared, and A Walk in the Park, a loving exploration of public parks and green space. Elborough regularly appears on Radio 4 and recently wrote and presented the five-part series, The Rise and Fall of the Antique, and is a frequent contributor to the Guardian and Observer, among other newspapers and magazines.