Georgian Style, think of those beautiful curved terraced houses in Bath in their soft-buttery colours. It was an age of clean lines and classical influence.
It would be unfair to say that, being the daughter of the 11th Duke of Malborough, it is natural that Henrietta Spencer-Churchill should have all the advantages to publish a book like this. Not only would she have been bought up in beauty such as this at Blenheim and probably a host of other stately-home-ish settings - but no doubt she has the connections to get this published.
Spencer-Churchill's book certainly rises well above the ordinary. It is beautifully illustrated, her points are simply put and they are generally very clear. She has chosen to illustrate 130 years of interior, exterior and architectural design - from 1700 to 1830 - broadly the Georgian era . With a time frame this broad this book can certainly not qualify as a deeply academic study of the transition of the design. However she illustrates the broad designs trends and how they flowed into one another. She also picks some of the main names of the period (Robert Adam, Capability Brown and so on) and puts them into historical perspective.
The styles and their advent are explained, but also much about how design was influenced from the Chinese influence to the invention of wallpaper. Even the type, and use of colours and the range of colours available gets a mention.
As an interior designer herself, Spencer-Churchill no doubt has a feel for this sort of thing. I was a little disappointed because I felt with a few areas such as window treatments, she often failed to explain if these were original designs of hers based on previous drapes, or 'a georgian style' she had dreamt up. I would have liked to have seen more of Ackermann's period prints for instance - as they showed quite breath-taking interior detail of the latter part of Georgian age.
Occassionally too I found myself grating my teeth as she illustrated a 'Georgian' ideal, but failed to point out at what period in the 130 year time span she was talking about it would have been relevant. But I am being really picky about that.
Overall I found this an absolutely breath-taking book. It at once made me sick with jealousy that I didn't have one of these beautiful homes. I found her style easy to read, informative and if nothing else the illustrations are so beautiful I would keep it simply to look at them.
This is a great book for fans of the Regency period, Heyer or Patrick O'Brian type of books. It is also lovely if you just like beautiful things.