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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag
Dumfries House was the subject of the most dramatic rescue of a British country house in living memory. Its contents, including the most important collection of furniture of Thomas Chippendale's early period, was in removal vans heading down the M6 on the way to Christie's saleroom in June 2007. Prince Charles had headed a consortium endeavouring to rescue the house and...
Published 4 months ago by J. Stabler

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity
Undoubtedly this is a book written by academics, the dry almost turgid writing is proof of this as fact follows fact; the prose never to burst into life.
The illustrations are mainly harshly lit and often inadequate, many from Christie's as indicated by the lot labels that so forlornly hang from much of the furniture.
The luscious front cover illustration is not...
Published 4 months ago by Guy in Bond Street


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, 25 Feb 2014
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J. Stabler (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dumfries House: An Architectural Story (Hardcover)
Dumfries House was the subject of the most dramatic rescue of a British country house in living memory. Its contents, including the most important collection of furniture of Thomas Chippendale's early period, was in removal vans heading down the M6 on the way to Christie's saleroom in June 2007. Prince Charles had headed a consortium endeavouring to rescue the house and contents which were on the point of going onto the open market. Only by his intervention, having borrowed 20m, was it possible, apparently with minutes to spare, to halt the process. The vans were recalled and the furniture restored to its historic setting.
This astonishing drama is recounted somewhat cursorily in three sentences in the introduction to this book, but otherwise receives no mention, a curious omission which is not explained.
The book is the result of Simon Green's extensive research in the Bute family archives at Mount Stuart and the story as the house passes through successive generations is meticulously covered. The survival of so much from the 18th century is a result of the house not being the primary residence of the Bute family and the fact that successive incumbents had a sympathetic attitude to its architecture and contents (at least until this century).
The furnishing of the house is well covered by the Scottish furniture historian Sebastian Pryke. Unfortunately his thoroughness is not matched by that of the publishers. Some of the most outstanding furniture, such as Chippendale's "rosewood" (actually padouk wood) breakfront bookcase and his sublime pair of card-tables, is very poorly illustrated, as is the work of leading Edinburgh cabinet-makers. To see this furniture in all its glory you will need to look at Christie's lavish 714-page catalogue for the sale that never was. Unfortunately it is now fetching 1000 on the second-hand book market. Pryke's chapter is also flawed by the incorrect numbering of several of the illustrations, an indication of sloppy (or absent) subediting. This is a pity because in other respects the book is handsomely produced, including large-scale tipped-in plans and elevations, which must have been expensive to produce.
The book ends with the death of Eileen, widow of the 5th Marquess of Bute in 1993, leaving us facing the unsatisfactory and unexplained hiatus mentioned above.
Altogether a mixed bag, then: a book which should have been the definitive account, flawed by its omissions and by lax subediting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity, 6 Mar 2014
This review is from: Dumfries House: An Architectural Story (Hardcover)
Undoubtedly this is a book written by academics, the dry almost turgid writing is proof of this as fact follows fact; the prose never to burst into life.
The illustrations are mainly harshly lit and often inadequate, many from Christie's as indicated by the lot labels that so forlornly hang from much of the furniture.
The luscious front cover illustration is not matched within - how one longs for a proper photographer to have been involved, James MacDonald, Christopher Simon Sykes or Derry Moore, say. The sense of the house as a living entity is almost entirely absent, no poetry, little beauty, only a stark litany of names and dates.
The design isn't the most fortuitous either with unpleasant paper and harsh typeface, even the flaps of the cover are too narrow. All in all, having expected so much from the delicious cover, ones appetite is insufficiently satisfied by the skimped, unimaginative fare within.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Important House, Disappointing Account., 6 Mar 2014
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Mr. M. Lloyd (Carlton, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dumfries House: An Architectural Story (Hardcover)
I had waited with great anticipation for my copy of Dumfries House because of its early Adam interiors and Chippendale furniture. When it arrived the accounts of the interiors and furniture were short and the photographs inadequate. (If you've seen the Country Life article, you've seen most of them. Of the Dowager Duchess' Jean Munro inspired interiors there are only a few small photographs and no account.

Strangely the chapter on 18th century farming practices was perhaps the most interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous book!, 1 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Dumfries House: An Architectural Story (Hardcover)
An excellent book in every way,full of interest from beginning to end, and in every way a delightful mixture of a most absorbing text and lovely illustrations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars DUMFRIES HOUSE., 29 May 2014
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This review is from: Dumfries House: An Architectural Story (Hardcover)
I bought this book because I am looking for the historical and architectural details of important houses. The contents of this book are brilliant, I was amazed that so much detail, drawings and photographs were included within. I recommend this book to all those even remotely interested in architecture and interiors. The price is good too.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A labour of love - and a mine of information!, 21 Feb 2014
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Mr. S. W. Wilson (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dumfries House: An Architectural Story (Hardcover)
This book is splendidly researched, illustrated and edited.

The text has been compiled with wit and erudition, and the attention to detail never overwhelms the free-flowing narrative.

The fold-out architectural drawings are particularly fine, but the photography is stellar too.

Highly recommended as a gift for anyone with a love of Scots heritage and architecture, fine art and period interiors.

RCAHMS can be truly proud of this one; take a bow, Mr Green and Ms Thomas!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book About a Scottish Country House, 1 May 2014
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jimbiz (West TX USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dumfries House: An Architectural Story (Hardcover)
Perfect book in every way: perceptive scholarship, well illustrated, this book examines the house, the furnishings, the estate, it's history. That every book written in the future about British country houses should be like this one.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best country house monograph I have come across., 24 April 2014
This review is from: Dumfries House: An Architectural Story (Hardcover)
A very interesting house, and a book which does it justice. The best country-house study I have come across. Clearly the result of much research, but presented in a very readable way. The enormous interest of the designers and owners involved in the development of the house and grounds make the discoveries and the intricacies of its story very appealing. The lavish serving of plans, maps, drawings, old photos, portraits and record photographs of interiors and furniture is fascinating. In my view, it is the best thing to be published by RCAHMS so far. Well done!
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Dumfries House: An Architectural Story
Dumfries House: An Architectural Story by Simon Green (Hardcover - 10 Feb 2014)
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