Book Review: Frances Dafoe’s “Figure Skating and the Arts”

Ordering information is below.

I had never thought about the history of skating imagery used in art over the past several hundred years, but I’m so glad that Ms. Dafoe did. Her beautiful coffee table book “Figure Skating and the Arts” is a gorgeous book covering how skating has been portrayed in all mediums — painting, sculpture, ceramics, and more. At 192 pages in hardback, this is a fine coffee table book that every skating fan should own. With a forward by Dick Button himself (and his photo is instead substituted with a fantastic portrait by Tom Ouellette that you’ve probably never seen) reveals his own early introduction in skating collections and how he came to acquire his love for collecting skating art.

The book is wonderfully rich in images, for the most part all taken by Ms. Dafoe herself, who did a fine job teaching herself the basics of photography in order to make all the images consistent from page to page. As she explained in my podcast interview with her, it also made it possible for her to include much of the work to begin with, as the owners of the pieces were understandably loathe to part with the works. She traveled to many locations world-wide and was welcomed into many homes of skating’s royalty to gain access and include the pieces. As usual, our skating community proves to be uncommonly generous in spreading the love of our sport.

Most skating fans will of course recognize the old dutch paintings of skating on the canals, ceramic pieces, and skating costumes. But there are a few gems of discovery, such as detailed engravings on blades, drinking pitchers, and a fantastic old photo of an unidentified man standing next to an astonishing special figure he created. How I wish we knew his identity. I also learned some new trivia about skating through these images, for example how war shortages of fabrics and cloth resulted in the hand crocheted wool skating dresses created in the 1940s and 1950s.

This book is truly a labor of love. Congrats and thank you to Ms. Dafoe and her team for traveling the world and compiling these pieces for us all to be able to enjoy. You can enter to win a copy of this fantastic book.


To order in the United States (and perhaps Canada?) you can order from Schiffer Books or Amazon.

Ms. Dafoe asked me to share the following ordering information for Europe, Japan and Australia:

All orders for delivery in Europe are handled by our European distributors, Bushwood Books.

After you complete your online order, Bushwood Books will contact you with full details of the cost of your order in UK pounds sterling (£). Alternatively, make your order directly with Bushwood Books at

Shipping to any UK address will be charged at £2:50.
Shipping to a Western European country will be charged at £7:50.
Shipping to Eastern European countries will be charged at cost.

Bushwood Books
6 Marksbury Avenue
Kew Gardens

Tel: +44 (0) 20 8392 8585
Fax: +44 (0) 20 8392 9876

All web site orders for delivery in Japan are handled by our Japanese distributors, Shimada Yosho.

After you complete your online order, Shimada Yosho will contact you with the full details of the cost of your order in Japanse YEN (¥). Alternatively, make your order directly with Shimada Yosho. Postage and packing is free in Japan.

Shimada Yosho
107-0062 JAPAN

Tel: 03-3407-3863
Fax: 03-3407-0989

All Australian orders for our titles are handled by our Australian distributors, Peribo Books (Peribo Pty Limited). After you complete your online order, Peribo Pty Limited will contact you with the full details of the cost of your order in Australian dollars. Alternatively, make your order directly with Peribo Pty Limited.

Peribo Pty Limited
58 Beaumont Rd.
Mount Kuring-Gai, Australia, NSW 2080
Tel: 61 (0) 2 9457 0011
Fax: 61 (0) 2 9457 0022
Contact: Michael Coffey

About the Author
Yup, I’m a skating fan. But I’m a skater too. I compete nearly every year in the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships, and am always thrilled to see my other skating buddies there. In my real life I work in marketing for brands that make positive changes in the world, and a mom of two rambunctious boys.

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