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John Fowler: The Invention of the Country-House Style [Hardcover]

Helen Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 July 2005

The eminent interior designer, John Fowler, was responsible for transforming some of Britain's most important historic interiors. The 'Fowler style' was tacitly accepted as the correct style for the decoration of a period interior, despite the fact that this appearance of understated elegance and comfort was in fact entirely an American invention. This fascinating and controversial review of Fowler's work, containing full colour illustrations, offers an important discussion of the treatment of historic interiors and highlights his concern to create visually successful rooms rather than to merely replicate earlier interiors. The impact Fowler had on his contemporaries was immense and long-lasting, so much so that today the 'Fowler style' has come to be considered by some as the only style for the decoration of a country house.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (1 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1873394594
  • ISBN-13: 978-1873394595
  • Product Dimensions: 29.8 x 21 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 663,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Throughout the book the emphasis is on historic houses now in public ownership. The result is an insight not simply into Fowler but also into the changing approach to paint and colour over time... His pioneering work helped reinvent the country house at a crucial stage in its history. The Georgian This book will be of interest to anyone seriously concerned with the preservation, restoration or recreation of historic interiors. The authors present an interesting range of different perspectives on Fowler's work, from the personal (Peter Inskip's account of Fowler's methods, derived from watching him working) to the analytical (Christine Sitwell's piece on recent investigations into his schemes). Context Was this really a book about the 'Invention of the English Country-House style', and John Fowler's role in it, or was it a eulogy on this undeniably remarkable man? In fact, it altogether proved more interesting than either of these, although it must be said it does encompass a bit of both too. Journal of Architectural Conservation It is impossible not to admire and be rather in awe of the outstanding contribution that John Fowler and Nancy Lancaster made to our understanding of the British country house. Ian Gow, for Institute of Conservation

About the Author

Helen Hughes obtained a degree in the History of Art and Architecture at University College London before training as an easel painting conservator at Gateshead Technical College. She has worked with English Heritage in the Architectural Paint Research Unit since 1985, and has obtained UKIC accreditation as an Architectural Paint Researcher.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This slim A4 volume provides not only an excellent introduction to John Fowler, one of the great decorators of the classical interior in the 20th century but also a useful set of discussions of the whole problem of restoring historical interiors. Fowler produced wonderful bright colourful interiors for many National Trust properties and for private clients. No one doubts that his interventions produced marvellous settings . The questions that arise are around whether they are appropriate and the collection of chapters here provides an excellent introduction to these discussions. If you love classical interiors or design them, you will find much food for thought in this charming book.
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