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.