Paul Holberton & V&A Publishing, London 2017. Condition Fine, DJ Fine.
This rich collection of over twenty fully illustrated essays covers an array of medieval topics, with a particular emphasis on sculpture. The contributors, all friends and colleagues of the dedicatee, are prominent experts in their different fields, from the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. The wide range of subjects covered includes ivories, wood carvings, alabaster, architectural sculpture, caskets, reliquaries, and questions of imagery and iconography. With a full scholarly apparatus, A Reservoir of Ideals is an invaluable work of reference. The volume celebrates the museum career and scholarship of Paul Williamson, a scholar and curator whose outstanding contribution to art history continues to expand and inspire the study of sculpture in general and medieval art in particular. Williamson joined the V&Ain 1979 as one of the youngest curators ever appointed. He took over as Chief Curator in 1989, and he was Director of the Collections from 2004-07, and Acting Deputy Director in 2013. During his 36-year career at the V&Ahe wrote 17 books and over 150 articles. Williamson's profound experience and expertise as a curator at the V&Ahave both enhanced his own well-deserved reputation as the leading expert in the study of European sculpture, and simultaneously enriched the standing and holdings of the collections themselves. The works acquired during his time at the V&A, and the gallery displays that he either oversaw or curated himself, amply demonstrate his tremendous range of knowledge and appreciation of art. Despite his wide-ranging expertise and enthusiasm for the art of all periods, it seems fitting that this volume is devoted to medieval art, and primarily to sculpture - the works of art that undoubtedly lie closest to his heart. It is a testament to his standing at the pinnacle of medieval studies that so many leading experts have eagerly contributed to this exceptional collection.