Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz

Christopher Menz is a former Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia. He has published on the design work of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, and is a regular contributor to ABR.

Bonfire of the vanities

October 2013, no. 355 27 September 2013
Bonfire of the vanities
Of the innumerable books on the design work of William Morris (1834–96) that have appeared since the 1980s, the one that has remained the best and most informative is Linda Parry’s William Morris Textiles (1983), published early on in her career as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Since then, there has been much new research on Morris and many exhibitions of his work (at least six ... (read more)

Stephen Benwell: Virtuoso in Clay

ABR Arts 17 September 2013
Entering the current Heide exhibition Stephen Benwell: Beauty, Anarchy, Desire – A Retrospective for the first time is quite an experience. Dispersed left and right on two enormous rectangular tables is a chronological survey of the work of one of Australia’s finest ceramic artists. The overview of a remarkable career can be examined in detail as the viewer moves from work to work up and down ... (read more)

Making Melbourne's monuments

July–August 2013, no. 353 26 June 2013
Making Melbourne's monuments
When Paul Raphael Montford (1868–1938) settled in Melbourne in 1923, one press report claimed that he was ‘one of England’s best-known sculptors’, but despite having created works for the façade of the Victoria and Albert Museum and for Westminster Abbey, as well as numerous public sculptures in Australia, his work is not well known in either country. His reputation has always been oversh ... (read more)

At a single touch

July–August 2013, no. 353 26 June 2013
At a single touch
Anyone who has seen one of Röntgen’s ingenious writing desks, where at a single touch many springs and hinges come into motion, so that the writing surface and implements, pigeon holes for letters and money appear simultaneously, or in quick succession … can imagine how that palace unfolded, into which my sweet companion now drew me.   – Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years, 1 ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'Michel Roux: The Collection' by Michel Roux and 'A Lifetime of Cooking, Teaching and Writing from the French Kitchen' by Diane Holuigue

March 2013, no. 349 07 March 2013
Christopher Menz reviews 'Michel Roux: The Collection' by Michel Roux and 'A Lifetime of Cooking, Teaching and Writing from the French Kitchen' by Diane Holuigue
Here are two welcome additions to a long list of cookery publications in Australia promoting Gallic cuisine. French or French-style cookery in this country has come a long way since Ted Moloney and Deke Coleman’s charming but slight Oh, for a French Wife! was published by Ure Smith in 1952. Both Michel Roux: The Collection and Diane Holuigue’s A Lifetime of Cooking, Teaching and Writing from t ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'Government House Sydney' by Ann Toy and Robert Griffin

March 2013, no. 349 07 March 2013
Christopher Menz reviews 'Government House Sydney' by Ann Toy and Robert Griffin
Not that many Australian houses lend themselves to being the subject of a 240-page monograph. Whatever their architectural or historical merit, usually there is not enough material to warrant more than a chapter in a larger volume. Our government houses are different: not only do numerous documents and photographs survive in public records, but furnishings survive, and there is also the history of ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'My Umbrian Kitchen' by Patrizia Simone

December 2012–January 2013, no. 347 27 November 2012
Christopher Menz reviews 'My Umbrian Kitchen' by Patrizia Simone
My Umbrian Kitchen – part memoir, part recipe book – reflects the Umbrian-Australian life of its author, Italian-born Patrizia Simone, who, with her husband, opened her first restaurant in Bright in north-eastern Victoria twenty-six years ago. This publication draws on her wealth of experience in the kitchen, decades of cooking, and the rich culinary heritage of her native Umbria. We follow Si ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook' by Anne Willan, Mark Cherniavsky, and Kyri Claflin

October 2012, no. 345 25 September 2012
Christopher Menz reviews 'The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook' by Anne Willan, Mark Cherniavsky, and Kyri Claflin
The Cookbook Library is an eminently readable and informative survey of the development of European (and North American) culinary literature from antiquity until the early nineteenth century, from Greek and Roman texts to Antonin Carême. The project, inspired by Anne Willan and Mark Cherniavsky’s extensive personal cookbook library, draws on Willan’s considerable professional cookery expertis ... (read more)

Christopher Menz reviews 'Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery' edited by Susan Cohn

July–August 2012, no. 343 09 July 2012
Christopher Menz reviews 'Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery' edited by Susan Cohn
The contemporary jewellery movement grew from a desire among postwar practitioners to explore both the expressive qualities in jewellery and the use of non-traditional materials. The move away from traditional gold and diamonds was partly economic – consider today’s price of gold – and partly ideological. Jewellery should be appreciated for what it is, on its own terms, not for its carats. ... (read more)

Annie Smithers: Annie's Garden to Table; and Guy Grossi: Recipes From My Mother's Kitchen

May 2012, no. 341 23 April 2012
Christopher Menz   Anyone who has dined at Annie Smithers’ eponymous restaurant in the picturesque town of Kyneton, eighty-five kilometres north-west of Melbourne, or read her food columns in TheAge, will understand her commitment to growing, sourcing, cooking, and presenting the best available local produce. She achieves this with a simplicity that belies the care and hard work needed to ... (read more)