Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
Early California Reflections: An Exhibit Presented at the San Juan Capistrano Branch of the Orange County Public Library, August 30 through October 11, 1986.
Norman Neuerburg and Iris Engstrand, Curators. Santa Barbara: Bellerophon Books, 1986. (94) pages. Illustrations.
In 1986 the San Juan Capistrano Regional Branch of the Orange County Public Library mounted an exhibit “Early California Reflections,” curated by Norman Neurburg and Iris Engstrand. To accompany the exhibit, the library prepared a catalog which includes a checklist of the items exhibited, a brief description of the exhibits, and three short articles by scholars in the field. In those essays, Iris Engstrand covered the story of Spanish exploration and settlement; David Hornbeck attacked the “Arcadian myth” and reminded us that “The images we have today of Hispanic California are not of the ordinary Californian, but rather are an exaggerated image of the non-existent Spanish don;” and Norman Neuerburg described the household furnishings of Hispanic California. He noted the Indian furnishings, the Spanish adaptation of many of them, the more elaborate furnishings in the missions, and the poorly furnished, usually homemade items from the small homes of the ordinary people. These brief but informative essays and the reproductions of some of the items exhibited make this a nice little volume for both the art collector and the historian.