A unique collection of timeless English houses featuring original photography make this a book to treasure. Ever since the English aristocracy embarked on a Grand Tour in the seventeenth century, the passion for developing collections has been a national trait of England. As a result, the country's aristocratic palaces became repositories of treasure gathered from around the globe. But so too, thanks to the spread of an Empire providing goods from across the globe, did almost every residence in England. Romantic English Homes features 13 such houses, the majority never before photographed. Large or small, old or new, they all convey an impression of massed objects intentionally mingling styles and tastes, the classical placed next to the gothic, tartan pattern competing with floral print. Decorated with defiant eclecticism, the buildings featured here, brought to you by Robert O'Byrne, indicate that although the Empire may have gone, the English love of collecting remains as strong as ever. Criss-crossing the country, from Dorset, Devon and Cornwall to East Anglia and Suffolk, from London to Shropshire, it is both the romantic timelessness of these properties and their many-layered appearance that makes them so alluring.
Robert O'Byrne is one of Ireland's best-known writers on architecture, fine art and design. A former journalist with The Irish Times, he has written extensively on the country's historic houses and their decoration. Among his previous books are Living in Dublin, a biography of the art dealer and collector Sir Hugh Lane, and a history of the Irish Georgian Society (of which he is a board member).