“…even the weariest river/Winds somewhere safe to sea.”*

*From: The Garden of Proserpine by ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE

From the website of Thames & Hudson:

“Thames & Hudson was founded in 1949 by Walter and Eva Neurath. Their passion and mission was to create a ‘museum without walls’ and to make accessible to a large reading public the world of art and the research of top scholars. To reflect its international outlook the name for the company linked the rivers flowing through London and New York, represented in its logo by two dolphins symbolizing friendship and intelligence, one facing east, one west, suggesting a connection between the Old World and the New. Today, still an independent, family-owned company, Thames & Hudson is one of the world’s leading publishers of illustrated books with over 2,000 titles in print. We publish high-quality books across ‎all areas of visual creativity: the arts (fine, applied, decorative, performing), architecture, design, photography, fashion, film and music, and also archaeology, history and popular culture. Our children’s books list is also expanding…

…With the gradual and successful expansion of the list, which grew from ten titles in 1950 to 144 in 1955, the company outgrew its High Holborn offices and moved, in 1956, to a Georgian townhouse at 30 Bloomsbury Street, just off Bedford Square, then the epicentre of book publishing in London. The company remained at that address, eventually expanding to five houses, until 1999, when it returned to High Holborn…”

Michael Hall wrote in Apollo magazine of 30.1.17:

“Among the tasks I was given as a junior editor at Thames & Hudson, where I started work in 1982, was proofreading a biography of Marlene Dietrich. I was concentrating so hard that I didn’t notice the figure who’d come into my room until she started picking up the proofs. To my mild alarm, it was Eva Neurath…

Stylishly dressed as always, in a well-cut coat, she was on her way home, and I knew that her chauffeur-driven Daimler would be waiting for her at the front door on Bloomsbury Street…

…as a young woman in Berlin in the 1920s, I was told, ‘Mrs N.’ (as she was universally known in the firm) had hoped to become an actress, but her career had faltered thanks to the rise of Dietrich. I didn’t question the story, as it seemed entirely in keeping with Thames & Hudson, which was staffed by central Europeans whose stories I eagerly devoured.

The combination of Thames & Hudson’s high-pressure, European creativity with its quintessentially English setting in a rambling group of Georgian houses captivated me, and, being young, I didn’t pay much attention to the pain and loss that lay behind these stories. Eva Neurath’s background was similar. Having fled Berlin in 1939, she was given a job in publishing by a fellow refugee, Walter Neurath. After the death of Walter’s wife, they married, soon after founding Thames & Hudson to publish illustrated books in London and New York – hence the firm’s name.

…Born in Berlin in 1908, the youngest of five girls, she left school at 14 partly thanks to anti-Semitism – her father was Jewish – and this lack of formal education gave her a lifelong appetite for self-improvement. Her father died when she was seven and she was brought up by her emotionally distant, bohemian mother, whose second husband was a lawyer at the UFA film studios in Berlin. As a child Eva occasionally worked as an extra…

Watching her at work made me for the first time understand visual intelligence, a quality that – as a career in publishing has taught me – surprisingly few people possess. I remember how she corrected a proof of the title page by cutting it into pieces, which she laboriously rearranged on a new sheet of paper. At last she looked up at me, and smiled: ‘They are not just words you know.’ “

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