A comprehensive study of walking canes from around the world, dating from the distant past to the modern-day. The book presents a historical context on both practical and ceremonial usage. At the same time, specially shot pictures showcase the celebrated A&D Collection of canes, while enlightening prose demonstrates the cane's enduring relevance to society.
More than just a mobility aid, the cane has held numerous offices of significance. From the staff of the legendary Monkey King in the classic Chinese Journey to the West, or the stylised crosiers carried by high-ranking prelates from the Roman Catholic church, to the truncheon wielded by Mr Punch in puppet shows, canes are embedded in the culture of almost every country around the globe. Roving the map with one hand and thumbing through history books with the other, A Virtual History of Walking Canes and Sticks seeks not only to introduce the collector to the diverse wealth of canes available but also to entertain the casual reader.
Intermingled with over 800 full-colour pictures are descriptions of gadget canes for tradesmen, squirting canes for pranksters, and glamorous Art Nouveau canes for the dapper gentlemen of the '20s. Informative and meticulously researched, this book paves an accessible route into a niche subject while paying homage to our ongoing relationship with canes. This story stretches back as far as history itself.
Anthony Moss is an avid Rabologist (a collector of walking sticks). He is Joint Chairman of The Antique Walking Cane Society based in London; a Member of The International Society of Cane Collectors based in the USA and regularly attends Canemania, an International Cane Convention.
Collecting has always been his craving, starting with collecting books at age 9. He and his wife Deanna married 56 years ago and began collecting Victorian furniture when it was inexpensive. In the 1970s their collecting interests expanded to encompass a wide range of antiques and collectables such as writing instruments, nibs, pencils, and early pens. In 1998 Deanna made the mistake of buying Anthony a few walking canes and thus his passion as a Rabologist began.
Navigational Aid to Entries
Foreword by Dominic Strickland
The Dandy A Poem by Deanna Moss
Introduction A Short History of the Walking Stick
CHAPTER 1 The Jewels in the Crown: Highlights from the A&D Collection
CHAPTER 2 Cane Classifications
CHAPTER 3 Cane Handle Motifs
CHAPTER 4 The Anatomy of the Cane
CHAPTER 5 From The Dawn of Time to 20th Century Sophistication
CHAPTER 6 The Umbrella and the Parasol
CHAPTER 7: Contemporary Walking Canes - Alive and Popular Today
CHAPTER 8: Materials and Techniques
Notes on Source Material
When the Cane Was King - A Poem by Deanna Moss
This treatise presents its readers with a soup-to-nuts introduction to canes, covering everything from details of construction, materials, and patents to cultural conventions that governed their use. The hundreds of sumptuous full-color images do full justice to the items, and the text curates them well, examining them by genre and period. Moss’ lucid prose features evocative appreciations of both the canes’ aesthetics… Over the course of the book, his shrewd, wide-ranging historical analysis situates canes in their larger social context… Connoisseurs and casual readers with a liking for good-looking fashion accessories will find a great deal of interesting lore and imagery here. An engrossing and visually splendid exploration of the artistic and cultural meaning of canes.
This beautiful book by Anthony Moss shows careful research and study; it rises far above other photographic books on antique walking sticks.
It is wonderful to discover a new book on antique walking canes from an obsessive UK walking cane collector. This book is rich in images of selected and rarely seen objects, supported by excellent information and technical data. By integrating historical research with a passionate knowledge for this fascinating object, the author is contributing to open our eyes to a seemingly 'utilitarian' walking cane: by revealing a powerful, meaningful and symbolic artefact. The author demonstrates how these objects can tell stories about the times and the people while offering a glimpse to their past and their future. This is a 'must-read' to any person interested in navigating through the universe of walking canes across history.
This book is the fabulous testimony of passionate collectors who have patiently assembled one of the finest and most complete collection of antique canes. This book will soon be an essential reference in the world of cane collectors.
I urge you to read this excellent book, full of information and inspiring visual content, a case study of where a true collector’s journey and passion can take you, a must have for those who enjoy the full artistic variety of the visual arts.
Author, Anthony Moss takes us on a stunning visual journey and tells stories along the way (as a good collector should), to help further ground us in the knowledge that comes as second nature to him. And along the way, his excitement and passion for the topic come through, making it all the more fascinating for us.
It was a real pleasure to read a scholarly examination of a very diverse collection that included almost every type of cane in the world. What stood out to me the most was how each cane had something very special about it. They all had a lot of character. I could see this at first glance of every cane. Anthony has a very trained eye that can spot a high quality cane.
In his very entertaining tome, A Visual History of Walking Sticks and Canes, Anthony Moss...takes us on a fascinating historical journey of this one-time sartorial and purely functional implement which only a hundred years or so ago was a daily feature not to say, a must.... Moss’ knowledge is devastatingly wide – explosively so – and his passion unbridled. He is probably one of the most important cane collectors in the world and this book surely represents his life’s real work.... Mr Moss has done more than a good job. You can’t take a stick to him.
8/28/21, Wall Street Journal article in Arts/Exhibits features the book under the headline "Dandy Canes."
2/22/22, Antiques and the Arts Weekly: Author Anthony Moss was featured in this author Q&A.