Christmas presents: the best photography, art and picture books for 2021

These embellish any coffee table (Image:

When it comes to Christmas gifts, coffee table books are the ultimate in reliability.

They look beautiful, they are fascinating, and make both the giver and the recipient appear very cultivated and intelligent.

Plus, there is something for just about every type of person, from music fans to food lovers.

We’ve selected some of the best books of the year to give away, including fashion Bibles, stunning Scandinavian design inspo and Frida Kahlo’s entire collection.

Read on to find out where to get them.

Amy Winehouse: Beyond Black

Amy Winehouse: Beyond Black
And look into Amy’s life

There are a multitude of documentaries and films out there competing to show us their version of the “real” Amy Winehouse – now there’s a photo book to complement the mix.

Written by Naomi Parry, her stylist, it contains text sheets and memorabilia as well as unprecedented pictures and anecdotes from friends and colleagues.

With the stories of gigs, parties and paparazzi going on, could this be the best way to get to know the Queen of Camden yet?

Buy it for £ 30 (Thames & Hudson)

Beata Heuman – Every room should sing

Beata Heuman - Every room should sing
Interior design inspiration

Beata Heuman’s Instagram page is a must, packed with fun and theatrical interiors that also look cozy and livable.

Her book Every Room Should Sing gives us even more details about the Swedish designer’s process and how she became one of the most exciting names in interior design.

Buy it for £ 45 (Rizzoli New York)

Short vacation: Eating and drinking to transport

Short vacation: Eating and drinking to transport
Eat like on vacation

Do you dream of sipping an apricot bellini in an Italian piazza? Getaway: Eat & Drink to Transport You Might Be What You Are Looking For.

While not the most original concept, this collection is characterized by simple recipes that meet the taste and offer a touch of escapism, as well as dreamy photos and illustrations.

Buy for £ 19.69 (Abrams)

Vivienne Westwood: Catwalk

Vivienne Westwood: Catwalk

The actual fashion bible

Published in the year of Vivienne Westwood’s 80th birthday, this book features the images and looks of more than 70 of the designer’s iconic fashion collections.

Written by fashion journalist Alexander Fury, it is a treasure trove of inspiration with recordings of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell from the early 1990s to Westwood’s more recent protest-inspired designs. A fitting tribute to the grande dame of British fashion.

Buy it for £ 55 (Thames & Hudson)

Lively: style in color

Lively: style in color
Discover the psychology of color

Colorful interiors take a moment and this book by photographer Armelle Habib and stylist Julie Green is the perfect guide to adding a bit of rainbow magic to our living spaces.

Daring indoor shots come along with essays on the psychology of color and tips on layering and using texture. Plus, the book looks beautiful even under a candle.

Buy it for £ 20.99 (Hardie Grant Books)

Modernist escapes

Modernist escapes
Now that’s a great design

This architecture guide covers buildings that cover the full spectrum of modernist principles from Bauhaus to Brutalism, and all of which are accessible for sightseeing or overnight stays.

Miraculously, it also contains photos of the interiors of the buildings, which reflect the overall picture of the building structures presented.

Buy it for £ 20.99 (Prestel)

Frida Kahlo: The complete paintings

Frida Kahlo: The complete paintings
Frida’s life and work

An absolutely insane book (which is reflected in the high price), this is the culmination of 30 years of research by the author Luis-Martín Lozano and claims to include all of Frida Kahlo’s works of art.

In addition to her self-portraits, there is the story of her difficult life with husband Diego Rivera, as well as drawings, photographs and pages from her personal diary. In short, a must-have collection for fans of the inimitable Mexican artist.

Buy it for £ 150 (bags)

Two worlds: above and below the sea

Two worlds: above and below the sea
The best from both worlds

Photographer David Doubilet’s remarkable photos capture the ocean horizon above and marine life below the surface in a single image, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Antarctic Ocean.

His work is full of marine life, corals and the underwater landscape, and also sheds light on issues of marine protection and climate change.

Buy it for £ 39.95 (Phaidon)

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