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The Country Houses of John Vanbrugh: From the Archives of "Country Life" (Country Life) [Hardcover]

Jeremy Musson

Price: 40.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

14 Nov 2008

The country houses designed by Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726) are some of the most original and memorable works of architecture in Britain. He was rightly judged ‘The Shakespeare of architects’ by Sir John Soane, and was the designer of Castle Howard in Yorkshire and Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, two of the great iconic houses of Britain.

Vanbrugh’s life was almost as remarkable as his houses. The son of a merchant of Dutch extraction, his grandfather had left Haarlem to avoid religious persecution as a protestant; his mother was related to many of the great landed families of the day. Before turning his attentions to architecture in 1699, he worked as a merchant, travelling to India in the service of the East India Company; served as an army officer; was arrested and imprisoned on suspicion of being a spy, and, as a playwright, wrote and produced successful comedies such as The Relapse.

Accompanied by well-researched, fascinating accounts of his great houses and their landscapes, Jeremy Musson’s book brings together 200 of the finest photographs of his country houses, taken for Country Life magazine over the last century. Complete with an introductory biography of Vanbrugh’s remarkable life and character, The Country Houses of John Vanbrugh is a truly comprehensive work that will delight admirers of this great all-rounder of the Augustan age.


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About the Author

Jeremy Musson is an architectural historian, writer and broadcaster who worked for Country Life for twelve years, first as Architectural Writer and then as Architectural Editor. He has a particular enthusiasm for the late-seventeenth-century and early-eighteenth-century English county houses and has visited all the surviving works of Vanbrugh. He is passionate about engaging a wider audience in the marvels and spectacles of the English country house tradition. A former assistant curator for the National Trust in East Anglia, he also presented the popular BBC2 series, The Curious House Guest. He is the author of The Country Houses of Sir John Vanbrugh, The English Manor House: from the Archives of Country Life and How to Read a House. Born in London in 1965, he now lives with his family in Cambridge.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous Presentation 24 Mar 2009
By Sargent - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
For those unfamiliar with the "From the Archives of Country Life ..." books, it is a tasteful series of fine architectural volumes that presents well composed black and white photos from articles originally appearing in the magazine of that name. Occasionally, as in the present volume, the archival material is supplemented by new color photography and current texts which do reference the former articles and commentary.

Vanbrugh's almost meteoric rise to fame rests on remarkably few commissions, but such were their scale and detail that it is easy to comprehend how fully they must have occupied his time. This book exclusively features his country estates. The fine selection of images range from full buildings in their park-like settings to close ups of carvings, moldings, ironwork and numerous other features, all combining to present a thorough picture of Vanbrugh's capabilities as an architect. The text is kept at a reasonable minimum, allowing the images to tell the splendid story without clutter.

This sumptuous and handsome volume perfectly complements the grandeur of two of Vanbrugh's most important houses, Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard. It is a fine addition to the 'Country Life' Series.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars VANBRUGH 7 Mar 2009
By Shannon Deason - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Of course, any discussion of Vanbrugh begins and ends with his twin masterpieces; Blenheim and Castle Howard. Blenheim is the largest private house in Britain, it is steeped in history; starting with it's first owner Lord Marlborough, the British military Icon, this was a gift to him, given by the a most appreciative Queen Anne. This book gives due focus to Blenheim, but really it's best is saved for the specatcular Castle Howard outside of York, most know of this estate to end all estates from the miniseries and subsequent film Brideshead Revisited, both of which were obviously adapted for Evelyn Waugh's English literary classic. The images in this book are excellent and though as mentioned, Blenheim and Castle Howard get pride of place, this book is comprehensive and discusses and illustrates other works by Vanbrugh in the English country house venacular. If you have any interest in Vanbrugh or Castle Howard and Blenheim or great English country houses i general then I cannot conceive of you not being pleased with this book.
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