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Great Houses of Europe: From the Archives of "Country Life" (Country Life) Hardcover – 26 Jun 2003

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Photographs of houses from Country Life magazine. But these are special houses and Country Life is a rather special magazine, having accumulated over 100 years an unrivalled archive of architectural and interior design photographs. The houses are situated all over western Europe, from Britain and Belgium to Portugal and Sweden, and date from the Renaissance to the 20th century. These are houses that are works of art, as are the photographs, which undoubtedly deserve preservation between hardcovers. This is not quite Changing Rooms territory, but readers working to more modest DIY and decorating budgets will find plenty of inspiration here. Or just plenty to dream about, for these are for most of us without doubt fantasy homes built and maintained with fantasy sums of money.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beautiful Stately Homes and Castles of Europe 1 May 2005
By K. Maxwell - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Since 1968 Marcus Binney and photographer Alex Starkey have been producing regular articles on the country houses and places and stately homes of Europe and the UK for Country Life magazine. This book describes the challenges of photographing these houses, both in Black and White and colour. Photos that you take for granted have a lot more art and skill involved in producing them than is readily apparent - especially if you haven't tried to take these sort of photos yourself. ( I have, and they never look as good as what you see in this book)

This is a wonderful book and covers 25 houses. The photos are a mixture of black and white and colour. All pictures are beautiful and sharp and printed on high quality glossy art paper. The houses range from Castello di Guarene in Piedmont, Palazzo Albrizzi in Venice, Schloss Bruhl in Cologne, Chateau de Bussy-Rabutin in Burgundy, Hotel de Lauzun in Paris and Skoloster in Sweden as just an example of a few.

Some of the houses/castles covered in this book only have a few photos, while others are up to 4 or 5 pages long. Sometimes you wish for colour pictures, but not all these photos were originally taken with colour film, and even when printed in black and white all these pictures are of excellent quality. The text for each house gives you some of the background history of it, but unfortunately doesn't tell you if the house is open to the public today - or even still intact with its contents (some of these photos are decades old)

Country Life magazine today continues its regular articles on the Country Houses of both the UK and Europe, and it is lovely to see the best of their archives being printed in these books. The great Country Houses of Europe are one of the great wonders of the world and usually represent some to the best of preserved artistic endeavour over the centuries if you take your time to search them out. This book stands out from the crowd for the unusual range of houses covered and as a snapshot of some of the more outstanding examples.
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