ROM Books

The ROM publishes and co-publishes a wide variety of books relating to the Museum, its collections and research. Subject areas include Canadian heritage, world art and archaeology, natural history, palaeobiology, and earth science. ROM books are distributed by University of Toronto Press, except where otherwise noted, and are available in bookstores, online and in the ROM Boutique.

Featured Publications

Christian Dior: History and Modernity, 1947-1957

Alexandra Palmer

ROM
2018
9” x 12”
216 Pages
Hard Cover
$49.99
978-0-88854-521-3

Arguably the most famous fashion designer of the 20th century, Christian Dior’s feminine fashions were desired, worn, and emulated by women around the world. This new publication by ROM Press explores in detail what it was about Dior’s dramatic creations—the cuts, textiles and embroideries—that stimulated the entire Paris haute couture industry after the devastation of the Second World War. The book features the Royal Ontario Museum’s collection of Christian Dior couture (1947-1957), and is accompanied by sketches and documentary material from Christian Dior Héritage, along with archival images and striking photographs of the museum garments taken by world-renowned Dior photographer Laziz Hamani. The collection features beautiful designs from daytime to evening wear. The publication breaks new ground as it explains key Dior design signatures, based on the use of innovative and historical dressmaking techniques to explain what made the New Look so successful and why his designs were worn and emulated by woman around the world in the 1950s. Christian Dior presents new information drawn from extensive research wedded with close examination of the designs within this catalogue, making it an essential read for those interested in fashion, art, culture, and history. 

Art, Honor, and Ridicule: Fante Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana

Art, Honor, and Ridicule book cover

Silvia Forni

Doran H. Ross

ROM
2017
9” x 12”
304 Pages
Hard Cover
$49.99
978-0-88854-516-9

This landmark publication explores the stunning textile-based artistic tradition associated with the military companies of the Fante people in Ghana. It accompanies the Royal Ontario Museum’s exhibition asafo flags and examines the cultural, political, social, and aesthetic facets of the textile art produced by a number of Fante workshops in central-southern Ghana for the use of the asafo military companies of the region. Unlike the only other existing book on the topic written by Peter Adler, this book takes a holistic approach to the analysis of the aesthetic components of the asafo performances. The striking visual vocabulary of the flags is in fact closely linked to the architectural, sculptural, poetic, performative and musical expressions of the Fante. This publication is an extraordinary introduction to the world of visual, chromatic, and narrative competition that characterizes the public display of asafo companies.

Africa in the Market: 20th Century Art from the Amrad African Art

Africa in the Market book cover

Silvia Forni

Christopher Steiner

ROM
2016
9” x 12”
194 Pages
Hard Cover
$49.99
978-0-88854-506-0

While many publications focus on the aesthetics and symbolism of African art, few explore the historical dynamics and exchanges that have informed the way people in Africa have created, preserved, collected and sold their artworks to local and foreign patrons. The book addresses key issues of market trends, the transformation in taste and aesthetics in relation to changing historical conditions and the role of artisans, traders and collectors in mediating knowledge and value in the international art market. Richly illustrated, Africa in the Market introduces to the public the artwork in the Amrad African Art collection at the Royal Ontario Museum. The objects are framed and interpreted within essays that highlight the significant role that African makers and dealers have played in shaping Western understanding of African art. The book explores the significance of 20th century artistic production as a material component of local traditions and, at the same time, as artifacts circulating in a global market where local specificities are often lost.

Wanderings of an Artist Among The Indians of North America

Book cover Image

Paul Kane

Introduction by Ken Lister

ROM
2016
5.5" x 8.6"
720 Pages
Hard Cover
$39.99
978-0-88854-507-7

Canadian artist, Paul Kane (1810–1871), journeyed between Toronto and the Pacific coast in the late 1840s to illustrate the customs of indigenous peoples and “to represent the scenery of an almost unknown country.” The narrative of the artist’s years of travel was published in 1859 and it enjoyed immediate recognition by audiences hungry for information about North America’s Aboriginal peoples.

To Kane’s disappointment though, the book was limited to twenty-one images and fell short of his desire for a fully-illustrated account. Although pleased with the book’s positive reception, for Kane it represented an unfulfilled dream and lead to his longing for a future edition with “a much more extensive series of illustrations.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s edition of Wanderings of an Artist brings together for the first time Kane’s narrative with the complete complement of images he painted to illustrate his story and experiences.

Nearly 156 years later, this edition will realize the artist’s ambition and provide readers with the full and complete illustrated account of Kane’s travels during the final years of the fur-trade period.

Mexico: Clothing & Culture

978-0-88854-508-4

Chloë Sayer

Alexandra Palmer

ROM
2015
9" x 12"
176 Pages
Paper
$39.99
978-0-88854-508-4

Textiles are an essential part of Mexico’s enduring legacy. Over the course of four millennia, many cultures have flourished. The Maya, the Aztec and other major civilizations developed distinctive forms of adornment and dress. The Spanish Conquest of 1521 brought European garment styles, raw materials, skills and design motifs. Contemporary textiles owe their range and vitality to this fusion of traditions. Ceaselessly evolving, Mexican textiles combine prodigious technical prowess with exquisite artistry. This publication tells the fascinating story of Mexican textiles. From sarapes and rebozos to splendid examples of beadwork, constructed from, minuscule imported glass beads, the author covers the evolution of male and female dress, and the vast range of techniques used by spinners, dyers, weavers and embroiderers. Chloë Sayer offers a scholarly yet readable introduction to the important field of cultural textiles. This landmark reference work appeals to the many audiences passionate about Mexican history and culture, textiles, and design in general.

Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano

Pompeii In the Shadow of the Volcano (Cover Image)

Paul Denis

Kate Cooper

ROM
2015
8" x 5"
76 Pages
Paper
$5.00
978-0-88854-509-1

A detailed guide highlighting nearly 40 showpieces from the ROM's exhibition Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano. Accompanied by stunning photography and unique contextual images, this guidebook covers of one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of our time. From ordinary household items to extraordinary pieces of art, the book highlights the life of the people of Pompeii, real people, not unlike us. Readers are able to view stunning sculptures rooted in Greek mythology, gladiator equipment that tell the tales of bloody combat, and even a mosaic dog that would have guarded the entrance to a household. From viewing a society in its prime, readers are taken to the moment disaster struck where on display is food that was about to be eaten—bread, figs, and olives well past their best-before date. The disaster becomes all the more real with the heartbreaking casts of the people unable to escape—men, women, children, and even a dog.

Pompeii and its fate are explored through sections that examine the chronology of the disaster as well as its devastating toll and aftermath.

 
 
 

The First Brush: Paul Kane and Infrared Reflectography

The First Brush book cover

Kenneth R. Lister, editor

ROM
2014
8.5" x 10.5"
80 Pages
Soft Cover
$24.95
978-088854-498-8

Canadian artist Paul Kane lived in a century when foreign cultures were expanding across North America. Native cultures were encouraged to adopt different world views and alter the way they made a living. Kane—aware that aboriginal cultures were changing—set out to produce a visual record of Native peoples and the land they inhabited before such a record was no longer possible. From 1845 to 1848, Kane journeyed extensively across Canada, taking graphite, watercolour, and oil-on-paper sketches of the peoples he met and their cultural practices.

As Kane worked on the final art, in some cases certain details were changed and compositions altered. With “Near Infrared Reflectography” technique we can “see” Kane struggling with the oil-on-canvas compositions in his studio. The First Brush: Paul Kane and Infrared Reflectography delves into comparisons between painted versions of the same scene and reveals the initial painting and the copy. Beneath the surface of the finished painting lie his initial renderings, his first drawings, and painted efforts that expose his original intentions for the painting. Were they true to the sketch? Did he wrestle with a desire to present in grand fashion, but then resist the temptation?

This book is a unique insight into Paul Kane’s thinking and artistic processes between the years 1849 and 1856 as he painted in his Toronto studio. It explores the issue of truthfulness in Kane’s art and his struggle for composition. Additionally, these comparisons expose Kane’s response to external pressures, as well as his steadfastness to a realized vision.

ROM Field Guide to Butterflies of Ontario

Butterflies of Ontario, Cover Image

Peter W. Hall, Colin D. Jones, Antonia Guidotti, and Brad Hubley

ROM
2014
4.5" x 8"
488 Pages
Soft Cover
$29.99
978-0-88854-497-1

This is the very first field guide on the butterflies of Ontario. It highlights the diversity of life by featuring a staggering 167 species of butterflies known to occur in Ontario. The ROM Field Guide to Butterflies of Ontario includes descriptive species accounts, flight season phenograms, and striking field photography of adults and caterpillars. Using range maps based on hundreds of thousands of historical records, and what we believe to be a first for a field guide: computer-modelled predictive distributions, this book illuminates the complete life history of these butterflies. The field guide’s easy-to-access approach, comprehensive coverage, and beautiful design make it an essential guide for both amateur naturalists and professional lepidopterists.

Every Object Has a Story

ROM
2014
9.75 x 11.25 inches
188 Pages
Hard Cover
$29.95
978-1-77089-486-0
eBook
$14.99
978-1-77089-487-7

For the past 100 years, the Royal Ontario Museum has gathered precious objects from around the world to connect its visitors to all corners of the globe. To celebrate our centennial, 21 Canadian writers, artists, scientists—including an astronaut—share their personal connections with 21 extraordinary objects from the Museum’s collections.

Read Joseph Boyden’s observations around the Blackfoot robe and Deepa Mehta’s childhood memories of trying to dance inspired by Shiva Nataraja’s “Dance of Bliss.”  Look at the meteorite that Chris Hadfield suggests is an actual glimpse into Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.  The book captures moments, thoughts, stories—humorous, nostalgic and oftentimes deeply personal.

The ROM in partnership with The Walrus Foundation, brings you an anthology of Canada’s finest writing.  Combining curatorial expertise and unexpected, intimate perspectives, this writing is accompanied by stunning contemporary photography and striking documentary shots, emphasizing the individual experience with these natural and cultural masterpieces.

Available April 8 in the ROM Museum Store or the iTunes Store.

Paul Kane /The Artist/ : Wilderness to Studio

ROM
2011
12.5"x11"
416 Pages
Cloth
$75.00
978-0-88854-480-3

Destined to be one of the most important books published in Canada, this coffee table volume includes the complete ROM collection of 100 oil paintings and 373 sketches, the world's largest Paul Kane collection. Kane's evocative sketches and paintings of Native peoples, customs, and artifacts, have become a treasured part of Canada's heritage.