Jeremy Musson is a leading commentator and author on the English country house. He was architectural editor of Country Life from 1998 to 2007, for which he wrote hundreds of articles on country houses and is still a contributor. As a former National Trust assistant curator he redecorated state rooms at Ickworth Park and curated Anglesey Abbey. Musson is the author of several books including The English Manor House, Plasterwork, How to Read a Country House, The Country Houses of Sir John Vanbrugh, and Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant. A contributor to World of Interiors, The British Art Journal, and Cornerstone, he has interviewed many figures in the world of heritage, arts, and interior design, and he co-wrote and presented The Curious House Guest, a BBC2 series on important country houses in 2005-2006. Art historian Sir Roy Strong is the former director of London’s National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Paul Barker is one of the U.K.’s leading architectural photographers.
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On lovely, thick pages fourteen iconic English Country Houses are featured celebrating diverse styles beginning with the Jacobean, traveling through the Baroque, Palladian, Regency, Gothic Revival to the Victorian. In the foreword of this book, the English country house is described by Sir Roy Strong:
"They are never showy on the outside. Exteriors are always concerned with sobriety and silhouette, which only heightens the revelation when the door is thrown open and the visitor enters to be astonished by the dazzling opulence within."
The rooms in this book ARE a revelation--there are about 15 full-page and half-page photos of each home featuring rooms, details of rooms, chapels and noteworthy paintings, carvings, and sculpture in the homes. There is also an exterior view of each home.
The book explains that the English country house had a purpose beyond meaning to impress. They were, in the words of Strong, "cultural oases where it was possible to see Old Master paintings, antique sculpture, assemblies of rarities and substantial libraries, as well as collections of drawings, engravings and manuscripts." As England was ruled by a King/Queen subject to Parliament, the country house was more than a refuge for the owner, it was his power base. The King came to the owner's home, and stayed in the house's state rooms, not vice-versa.
There is a detailed history of each home from their inception to the present day by author/historian Jeremy Musson. You may want a timeline of English Royalty and a map of England to mentally place the homes as you read.Read more ›
If you enjoy a non compromising look on period finishes on interior decorating, architecture and style then this book is for you - for the antique and art collector to the architecture and just for everyone who appreciates and adore period finishes - a book well put together - well done Rizolli (publisher) you have done it again!
Countless books have been written on the English country house, and the subject never ceases to delight. Yet Jeremy Musson's sumptuous, beautifully photographed book explores some of Britain's great houses in unprecedented detail. His text is scholarly and extremely informative, without ever being dry, and brings the fourteen houses featured, almost all of which are still in use as private residences today, to life. He presents them in historical and political context as well as explaining how this influenced the major interior fashions and styles, from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, of which they are such fine examples. The author also shows how the English country house has never been a static, dusty affair, but has constantly evolved. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on "The English country house today", which details some late-20th-century renovations of - and even additions to - some of these venerable edifices, such as Castle Howard in Yorkshire. The detailed photography is a delight, showing gilding, sculpture, stucco work and furniture as well as grand enfilades and state rooms. For any aficionado of the country house, student of interior design or homeowner seeking inspiration, this is the perfect book.