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Tour de Force
on 1 November 2012
Utterly brilliant. If you have ever looked up at some terraced façade on a dark London afternoon and seen through its first floor windows the ceiling of a mighty chamber - and wondered who lived there, and who built it, and what paintings hung there - this book gives you your answer; Great Houses of London opens up those locked double doors and guides you around with scholarly comment and underplayed wit.
Everyone will have their favourites, but I especially loved the dwellings of the Duchess of Marlborough, the Italian Ambassador, Richard Rogers and Jimmy Page. There are scores more, including a magnificent Nazi creation on the Mall, the Archbishop's hammer-beamed palace in Lambeth, and the achingly lovely Whitehall rotunda (now a government office) where Byron seduced Lady Caroline Lamb. This book is - in every sense - a tour de force.