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English Country House Interiors [Hardcover]

Jeremy Musson , Paul Barker
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Oct 2011
A highly detailed look at the English country house interior, offering unprecedented access to England's finest rooms. In this splendid book, renowned historian Jeremy Musson explores the interiors and decoration of the great country houses of England, offering a brilliantly detailed presentation of the epitome of style in each period of the country house, including the great Jacobean manor house, the Georgian mansion, and the Gothic Revival castle. For the first time, houses known worldwide for their exquisite architecture and decoration--including Wilton, Chatsworth, and Castle Howard--are seen in unprecedented detail. With intimate views of fabric, gilding, carving, and furnishings, the book will be a source of inspiration to interior designers, architects, and home owners, and a must-have for anglophiles and historic house enthusiasts.The fifteen houses included represent the key periods in the history of English country house decoration and cover the major interior fashions and styles. Stunning new color photographs by Paul Barker-who was given unparalleled access to the houses-offer readers new insights into the enduring English country house style. Supplementing these are unique black-and-white images from the archive of the esteemed "Country Life "magazine. Among the aspects of these that the book covers are: paneling, textile hangings (silks to cut velvet), mural painting, plasterwork, stone carving, gilding, curtains, pelmets, heraldic decoration, classical imagery, early upholstered furniture, furniture designed by Thomas Chippendale, carved chimney-pieces, lass, use of sculpture, tapestry, carpets, picture hanging, collecting of art and antiques, impact of Grand Tour taste, silver, use of marble, different woods, the importance of mirror glass, boulle work, English Baroque style, Palladian style, neo-Classical style, rooms designed by Robert Adam, Regency, Gothic Revival taste, Baronial style, French 18th century style, and room types such as staircases, libraries, dining rooms, parlors, bedrooms, picture galleries, entrance halls and sculpture galleries. Houses covered include: Hatfield - early 1600s (Jacobean); Wilton - 1630/40s (Inigo Jones); Boughton - 1680/90s (inspired by Versailles); Chatsworth -1690/early 1700s (Baroque); Castle Howard - early 1700s (Vanbrugh); Houghton - 1720s (Kent); Holkham - 1730s-50s (Palladian); Syon Park - 1760s (Adam); Harewood - 1760s/70s (neo-Classical); Goodwood - 1790s/1800s (neo-Classical/Regency); Regency at Chatsworth/Wilton/C Howard etc - 1820/30s; Waddesdon Manor - 1870/80ss (French Chateau style); Arundel Castle -1880s/90s (Gothic Revival); Berkeley Castle - 1920/30s (period recreations and antique collections); Parham House - 1920s/30s (period restorations and antique collections). The range is from the early 17th century to present day, drawn from the authenticated interiors of fifteen great country houses, almost all still in private hands and occupied as private residences still today. The book shows work by twentieth-century designers who have helped evolve the country house look, including Nancy Lancaster, David Hicks, Colefax & Fowler, and David Mlinaric

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications (11 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847835693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847835690
  • Product Dimensions: 31.5 x 23.7 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As stated in the introduction, the grand country house interiors reflected the styles of royal palaces, producing magnificent, memorable and rare examples of taste, discernment and wealth, which survive to amaze and puzzle the modern gaze. This book gives an account of 14 of the grandest country house interiors, most still the homes of the families for whom and by whom, they were built. The houses selected are the historic seats of great landowners; today they are all opened to and enjoyed by a wide public. Jeremy Musson leads us very professionally through these interiors, accompanied by stunning new colour photographs by Paul Barker. For the introduction additional black and white photographs are used from the archives of Country Life. According Sir Roy Strong, in his foreword, these interiors are one of the wonders of our world and I agree. However these are not the interiors I would like to live in, but only walk around and admire as in a museum. If you are, like me, more interested in the romantic interior of the more modest English country house, I recommend the book previously presented by the same publisher under the title "The English Country House" by Mary Miers.
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A lovely mix of houses, from medieval timber framed to baroque grandeur. Plenty of detailed and fantastic photography of room interiors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Glorious Glossy 12 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is a well illustrated book by this knowledgeable author. I want to step inside these houses and experience them
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4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful learning 2 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very rich book with interesting details of palaces, manors and castles. The texts are very precise and give us important informations not only about the origin of each house but about achitectural styles and furniture along the time as well.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite 11 Nov 2011
By L. M. Keefer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase

Simply exquisite.

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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous and scholarly 23 Jan 2013
By Toby Alleyne Gee - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow 27 Nov 2011
By DJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book 20 Jan 2014
By Mark Weinress - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book and am happy to have in my design library. If you really want to track the history of English Country House architecture and design, it helps to have other reference books to refer to as you read this volume, or to use the internet. The text could have more depth. The photos are very nice.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended! 28 Dec 2012
By Vera Kalinkovitskaya - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Amazing book! I am an architect and interior designer and this book is a perfect source of case studies for projects, that have to designed and built in luxury style. Highly recommended!
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