Dr Peter Sheridan - Author Q & A

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5 minutes with Dr Peter Sheridan

Dr Peter SheridanThis month, we talk to internationally recognised historian, collector, and speaker on Art Deco, Dr Peter Sheridan.

What was the last good book you read?

East West Street by Philippe Sands - Fascinating combination of memoir and world history.

Do you have a favourite Library?

The State Library of NSW has been in view from my dental rooms in Macquarie Street since 1971 so it is a long-standing neighbour. I loved the old system of cards in the Mitchell library and the silence filled with intellectual endeavour.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever read about yourself or your work?

I used to worry when people described me as focused and relentless...now I wear the description as a badge of honour.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Stick to your vision and resist the temptation to compromise.

What inspired you to write your book?

I have admired and collected Art Deco for 20 years. There were books on Art Deco for New York, Chicago, London, Rio, Madrid, Havana, Napier in New Zealand, Miami in Florida as well as Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia. It seemed a shame there wasn't one for Sydney. Added to that I live in the Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay area which I believe is a national world class treasure trove of Art Deco apartment buildings equivalent to Napier and Miami South Beach.

Want to read more about Sydney Art Deco?

Sydney Art DecoFor the first time, Sydney's Art Deco buildings of the 1930s and 1940s are identified and gloriously displayed with contemporary photographs alongside archival images. Sydney Art Deco explores the impact of the Art Deco style on the landscape and life of Sydney during the 1930s and 1940s. Using contemporary and archival photos the book covers the whole gamut of moderne, functionalist and streamlined styling in the architecture of Sydney during the 1930s and 1940s. Art Deco was a global style and Sydney Art Deco explores its impact on the lifestyle of Sydneysiders with a glimpse of Australian artwork, fashion, furniture and accessories. The time of Art Deco was a brief hiatus between two World Wars and compounded by the devastating effects of the Great Depression. Life was not always glamorous but in many ways the style ushered in a new sense of freedom for people from the Victorian era's restrictions of class and attachment to tradition. New technology, mass production and the machine age brought a promise of a new future and industrial design with new materials made affordable and stylish goods available to the whole community. Sydney was still steadfastly British in the 1930s but the international style of Art Deco made its mark in Sydney. The city is graced with some beautiful architectural examples which can be seen in Sydney Art Deco and which should be appreciated and maintained as part of Sydney's built heritage.

Sydney Art Deco is published by Bakelight and is available now.