So, from the library system I requested Sacheverell Sitwell's The Gothick North: A Study of Medieval Life, Art, and Thought. Why? I'd seen Sitwell mentioned in another book, and figured he'd be an interesting direction to go in. Plus he was the younger brother of Edith Sitwell, who's been one of my favorite poets for some time now. So that added to the curiosity.
It's odd to read a book whose immediate subject relates to art and architecture and see that it has no pictures. It's just something that I think an editor would flag today. My guess is that since Sitwell was writing about Northwestern Europe, and he was writing for Britons of a certain financial standing, he assumed that much of his audience had seen his subjects or soon would.
As a historian, if he meant to be a historian, he fails, staying away from fact almost entirely. And it's hard to ignore the fact that he's something of a snob. But Sitwell makes up for the lack of photographs and plates. He's a great descriptive writer, with a deep feel for the art and buildings he's writing about. Of course he puts so many words on the page, with very little structure, that it's kind of like readng a blog that's been printed in book form with little in the way of editing.