Timothy Brook


Vermeer's hat



Vermeer’s Hat

The 17th Century and the Dawn of the Global World

Entertainment Weekly Pick of the Week!


"It's a fascinating approach to cultural history, providing new ways of thinking about the origins of commonplace objects."

Michael Romero
Entertainment Weekly

"... Brook takes us on rich, suggestive tours of the 17th century."

Douglas Smith
The Seattle Times

"A vivid portrait of the 17th century as the first great age of globalization."

Adam Kirsch
The New York Sun

"[Brook] rightly sees Vermeer's Delft as a microcosm of the era's international commercial surge ... [and] has a larger point, relevant to our own time: We need to narrate the past in a way that recognizes connections, not just divisions."

Anne Bartlett

 "Vermeer's Hat is a deftly eclectic book ... From the epicenter of Delft, Brook takes his readers on a journey that encompasses Chinese porcelain and beaver pelts, global temperatures and firearms, shipwrecked sailors and their companions, silver mines and Manila galleons. It is a book full of surprising pleasures."

Jonathan Spence

"It is an absolutely wonderful idea, beautifully executed (and I wish I'd thought of it). In Timothy Brook's hands, Vermeer's paintings really do become windows on the past, illuminating a fascinating period in which the world was being remade by global trade."

Tom Standage
Author of
A History of the World in Six Glasses

"Timothy Brook's fine book provides a shock. By way of Vermeer's pictures, he takes us through the doorways into a suddenly wider universe, in which tobacco, slaves, spices, beaver pelts, china bowls and South American silver are wrenching together hitherto well-insulated peoples."

Anthony Bailey
Author of
Vermeer: A View of Delft

"Thanks to Brook's roving and insatiably curious gaze, Vermeer's small scenes widen onto the broad panorama of world history. The result is like one of Vermeer's trademark reflective pearls that magically reveals a world beyond itself. A more entertaining guide to world history - and  to Vermeer - is difficult to imagine".

Ross King
Author of
The Judgment of Paris