The Pocket in the New York Times’ Critics Top Art Books for 2019

Posted on December 19, 2019

The Times’s art critics select 26 of their favorite art books and books related to art of the year.

‘THE POCKET: A HIDDEN HISTORY OF WOMEN’S LIVES, 1660-1900’ By Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux (Yale University Press). Before pockets were finally sewn into women’s garments — long after men’s were — they were tied onto the waist and worn above or beneath aprons or skirts and filled with all sorts of personal items, small tools and necessities, like keys. In this riveting book, the authors take advantage of the pockets’ frequent survival in textile museums, private collections and family holdings across Britain, tracing their presence in art, literature, political satire, domestic organization and court records. In the entwining of art, social and material history, few stones are left unturned.