Madresfield: One house, one family, one thousand years Hardcover – 2 Jun 2008
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A delightful work of social history, beautifully written. -- Daily Express
A high-class guidebook in which the human exhibits can be quite as exotic as the objets d'art. -- D J Taylor, Independent on Sunday
Fascinating history...Mulvagh is a tactful tour-guide...she sets the reader at ease...lays out for the first time the full heartbreaking background. -- Nicholas Shakespeare, Telegraph
Mulvagh is an assiduous researcher and writes in an engaging style of graceful anecdote. -- Jane Shilling, The Times
Scholarly, evocative and beautifully written...a thrillingly vivid historical portrait...a little masterpiece, as rich and rare as the house itself.
-- Selina Hastings, Daily Mail
[Mulvagh's] animating touch resuscitates the past and reclads a troop of haughty ghosts in fallible flesh. I loved the tour. -- Peter Conrad, Observer
The story of the real Brideshead: one home, one family, and a thousand years.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Anybody hoping for signs of this book being "one of the best recent monographs on an English family and their country house.." as the blurb on the jacket proclaims will be disappointed. Almost nothing is made of the architecture or the interior of Madresfield apart from some glorious colour photos of some of the rooms and in using objects found in the house as chapter headings as in "The breviary", " the scrap of paper" and so on.
The writing is quite fawning in style, in that no critical word ever escapes the author's pen. Nor is there any evidence of any independent research being done. I am left with the impression that Jane Mulvagh was so overwhelmed at the privelege of being admitted to this most private of houses and its muniments that she took the greatest care not to offend the present members of the family at Madresfield. The result is a very dull book. Surely the Brideshead generation was not the only scandal in nine centuries?
However as a history of the Lygon's the book is very good. It makes fascinating reading, particularly on the 20th century Lygons and offers glimpses to a very different way of life that was broken apart by scandal. The Brideshead Revisited inspiration seem undeniable and offers a realistic basis to a 20th century classic.
All in all a good book, but misleadingly titled.
lots of great colour photos even in the paperback as well as additional black and white photos within the text.
the history of the family was also the history of England royalty, court cases, architecture and painting poetry and music.
it was between a textbook and a novel and there were parts where it flowed along quickly and some i found a bit heavy going.
The family was the basis for the novel Brideshead re visted by Evelyn Waugh who was a close friend of the family in the 1930s.I have never read that novel but i reckon I will now.
As someone with family connections in the Malvern area, and an interest in railways, I am bemused by the references to a family private station, Hanworth Halt. There is no such palce; the authortative 'Railway Pasenger Stations in GB' (Railway and Canal Historical Society) doesn't list it and none of the other books on the rail history of the area mention such a place. Similarly, Lord Berners' home at Faringdon is quoted as being 25 miles away; it is at least 50 even as the crow flies. Trivial points maybe, but it does make a reader suspect the accuracy of other parts of the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was disappointed at first with Madresfield. I wanted to know all about Hugh Lygon and his relationship with Waugh. Read morePublished 5 months ago by johnM
Poor quality paper. I would not mind spending more on better quality books.Published 5 months ago by J N.
A very interesting read - makes it very obvious how the story of Brideshead Revisited came about.Published 5 months ago by Mrs PC