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Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History Paperback – 28 Aug 1980


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (28 Aug. 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140054065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140054064
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 2.5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 311,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

From literature, social chronicles, and family documents comes a study of the evolution and social role of the English country house since the Middle Ages.

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WHAT were country houses for ? Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By English Rose on 20 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
If, like me, you have loved trailing round stately homes, wondering "What on earth did they DO in all these rooms?" - then Professor Girouard has the answers. There are millions of wonderful books to help you distinguish your Gothic from your Gothick, your Palladian from you Neo-Classical. But architecture, unlike most art forms, is lived in, and Professor Girouard tells us how. How did the lord's Great Hall dwindle into a mere - if magnificent - entrance way? Was a parlour (from the French "parler" - to speak) the only place where you could talk? When were the servants banished to the basements or the attics? How did a gentleman's "withdraughte room" become the feminised ladies' drawing room, and when is a closet not a cupboard (or a loo), and what is the difference between a chamber and a Great Chamber? When is a banquet not a feast? When it's held in a "banquet", of course! For the English country house as we know them today operated for years as a cross between a private dwelling and the historical equivalent of the corporate headquarters of noble and gentry families, and somehow had to combine both those functions - as well as displaying the wealth and magnificence - real or desired! - of the owner.

Lavishly illustrated with colour and black and white plates, diagrams and floor plans, with a sweeping grasp of the changing roles, tastes and social mores of the English upper classes, this book allows us to peek into the public and private lives of those who built, rebuilt, modernised, vandalised, restored and conserved these most English of institutions. I can't now remember who said of Blenheim Palace something on the lines of "it's very fine, but where do you sleep, and where do you dine?" Professor Girouard answers these questions and then some! A book to be read, re-read and dipped into again and again. You will never again trail round a country house wondering "But what were all these rooms FOR?" You'll know!
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By Jonathan Browne on 3 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift and it seems to be an interesting, well illustrated book.
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By Jane.A. Jones on 17 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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