From the hematite used in cave paintings to the moldavite that became a TikTok sensation; from the stolen sandstone of Scone to the unexpected acoustics of Stonehenge; from crystal balls to compasses, rocks and minerals have always been central to our story.
3,000 years ago Babylonians constructed lapidaries – books that tried to pin down the magical secrets of rocks. In Lapidarium, renowned art critic Hettie Judah explores the unexpected stories behind sixty stones that have shaped and inspired human history, from Dorset fossil-hunters to Chinese philosophers, Catherine the Great to Michelangelo.
Discover why alchemists sought cinnabar and sulphur. Unearth the mystery of the tuff statues of Rapa Nui, the lost amber room of Frederick of Prussia and the scandal of Flint Jack. Find out how a Greek monster created coral, moon rock explains the history of Earth's only satellite and obsidian inspired the world's favourite computer game.
Stone by stone, story by fascinating story, Lapidarium builds into a dazzling, epoch-spanning adventure through human culture, and beyond.
Hettie Judah is chief art critic on the British daily paper The i, a regular contributor to The Guardian’s arts pages, and a columnist for Apollo magazine. She writes for Frieze, Art Quarterly, Art Monthly, ArtReview and other publications with 'art' in the title, and is a contributing editor to The Plant magazine. Following the publication of her 2020 study on the impact of motherhood on artists’ careers, in 2021 she worked with a group of artists to draw up the manifesto How Not To Exclude Artist Parents, now available in 15 languages. She regularly talks about art and with artists for museum and gallery events, and has been a visiting lecturer for Goldsmiths University, London and Dauphine University, Paris. A supporter of Arts Emergency she has mentored artists and students through a variety of different schemes. As a broadcaster, she can be heard (and sometimes seen) on programmes including BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Art That Made Us. She is currently working on an exhibition and book on art and motherhood, among other things.