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Merry Christmas! DECEMBER 2015

Scala's guide to last minute gifts

Sleigh bells jingle, turkeys are quaking in their boots and the Scala office is festooned with all the tinsel in Clapham – in short, Christmas is approaching fast. 
There isn’t a single person who doesn’t dread the buying of presents, at least a little. This is where we come in – here at Scala we appreciate all too well the trials and tribulations of the festive season, and in the interest of making your life just that little bit easier we’ve compiled a list of our books that would make superb presents. 
Star Wars is finally out, and everyone wants to blast off to the moon! Sci-fi fanatics will be delighted by this collection of essays about the first voyagers into space, the Russian adventurers who paved the way for humanity’s forays to the stars. Fascinating essays and stunning illustrations make this the perfect gift for would-be astronauts of all ages. 
This book was published to accompany the peerless Cosmonauts exhibition at the Science Museum – it doesn’t finish until March, so there’s plenty of time to go along and explore. If you’re feeling particularly generous, purchase some tickets along with the book!
Mosaics of St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is a monumental feature in the London skyline, curving high and magnificent – undaunted by the thrust of skyscrapers around it, still standing after two centuries, a bombing campaign and the mayor-ship of Boris Johnson. Within is the most beautiful jigsaw puzzle in the world: the mosaics designed by Victorian artists as part of a campaign to transform the stern, sanctified austerity of the 1700s into a more ‘humanised’ cathedral that showed off the best of nineteenth-century religious artwork. 

Mosaics of St Paul’s Cathedral is a charming, elegant book that illustrates the mosaics in intricate detail, as well as explaining their background and meaning. It’s ideal for people enamoured with art history, captivated by beautiful stories, fascinated by the history of such an iconic cathedral – or just for the person who loves London. Pair it with a trip to St Paul’s – the book is only available in the cathedral shop!
The Rarest of the Rare 
Perhaps they love David Attenborough, perhaps they are addicted to tales of derring-do – we all know someone enthralled by stories of the natural world, whether they are about strange and exotic animals, or the scientists and madmen who reached into the chaos of the natural world and catalogued and studied it, leaving us a legacy that only grows.
The Rarest of the Rare thrums with the energy that built the Museum of Natural History. Beautiful illustrations pick out the highlights of the collection – from the fragile filigree of boa constrictor bones to the weight of a rare Elephant Bird Egg; Tasmanian tigers (now lost forever) prowling in glass cabinets; Darwin’s trophies from his famous trip on the Beagle; and many more. Woven in amongst the detailed descriptions of the exhibits are the stories of those who found them; the explorers who made the museum possible. It’s a perfect gift for the budding zoologist.
Treasures of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is a wonder of a building: rich with cultural and artistic history, the final resting place of fifteen sovereigns and the coronation site of thirty-nine (all but two British monarchs have been crowned there since 1066). It is a thousand years of majesty and history, from its founding as a Benedictine monastery in the mid-tenth century to the Royal Wedding of 2011.
Treasures of Westminster Abbey is a celebration of this iconic landmark, and makes the perfect gift for anyone fascinated in the history of the strikingly lovely Abbey. It features beautiful photographs and exquisite illustrations, set alongside expertly written text that illuminates the history of Westminster, placing the story of the Abbey within a wider historical and cultural context. 
A Portrait of Lord's 
In 1814 Thomas Lord founded what became the world’s most celebrated cricket ground. To mark the 200th anniversary of its move to its famous London home, we published what has been called the ‘best-written cricket book for years’. 
It tells the fascinating story of cricket’s links to art and architecture, empire and class, spirit and society, connecting the club, ground and game to the wider world. Written by MCC curator Adam Chadwick, it is the first book on the Lord’s collections for 25 years. It contains fresh photography of a wealth of recent acquisitions and commissions, enhanced by new research as well as contributions by Andrew Strauss, Andy Flower, Glenn McGrath, Angus Fraser and Nick Compton, who each provide a personal reflection on Lord’s. The Foreword is by Nasser Hussain.
Featuring 245 exquisite photographs, along with striking reproductions of cricket events through the ages, this book is the perfect present for the cricket fanatic in your life. 
So there we are – five books that cover everyone from the sci-fi enthusiast to the cricket buff. Merry Christmas from everyone here at Scala, and a very happy new year!