With an emphasis on architecture, this book also covers gardens, furnishings and interior decoration of Elizabethan and Jacobean era country houses. Mowl explains how the houses were used, which in turn explains many of their stylistic elements. Mowl uses historic engravings and paintings as well as gorgeous color photographs to illustrate the text. There are also many interesting excerpts from period documents and literature. There is a fairly good glossary and an appendix of the addresses for the houses discussed in the book. I found that some of the terminology was a bit difficult but overall I learned a great deal about the aristocracy of the period by learning how they lived on and used thier grand estates.