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English Country House Interiors Hardcover – October 11, 2011
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About the Author
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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Top Customer Reviews
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. A veritable dynasty of architects and designers worked on the homes from Inigo Jones, to William Kent, Robert Adam, Chippendale, John Fowler, David Hicks and David Mlinaric.
The photography is sublime by Paul Barker and from COUNTRY LIFE magazine files. It's a gorgeous volume which exceeded my expectations. The homes are museums of the finest furniture, tapestries, art and architecture throughout the history of England. The chapters may leave you feeling wistful, wishing to see more of each home. I wanted to see every room from the bedrooms to baths, to the kitchens and servants quarters.
You may want to learn more about the English Country House interiors after studying this book. I did. The cover is a beguiling view into what is inside.
It is a must-have reference for those of us who can only dream of living in such
rich interiors. It is wonderful for fireside reflections. I have stacks of book
on the English Country House, and this is by far the best.
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