New Book | Touring and Publicizing England’s Country Houses

Posted in books by internjmb on January 24, 2018

From Bloomsbury Academic:

Jocelyn Anderson, Touring and Publicizing England’s Country Houses in the Long Eighteenth Century (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018) 256 pages, ISBN: 978 15013 34979, £86. 

Over the course of the long 18th century, many of England’s grandest country houses became known for displaying noteworthy architecture and design, large collections of sculptures and paintings, and expansive landscape gardens and parks. Although these houses continued to function as residences and spaces of elite retreat, they had powerful public identities: increasingly accessible to tourists and extensively described by travel writers, they began to be celebrated as sites of great importance to national culture. This book examines how these identities emerged, repositioning the importance of country houses in 18th-century Britain and exploring what it took to turn them into tourist attractions. Drawing on travel books, guidebooks, and dozens of tourists’ diaries and letters, it explores what it meant to tour country houses such as Blenheim Palace, Chatsworth, Wilton, Kedleston and Burghley in the tumultuous 1700s. It also questions the legacies of these early tourists: both as a critical cultural practice in the 18th century and an extraordinary and controversial influence in British culture today, country-house tourism is a phenomenon that demands investigation.

Jocelyn Anderson completed her PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2013. Subsequently, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (2014) and the post of Early Career Lecturer in Early Modern Art at the Courtauld (2015–16). She has recently received grants from the Marc Fitch Fund and the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, and she is now an independent scholar based in Toronto, Canada.


List of Plates
List of Figures
List of Tables

Introduction: ‘Come Here for Entertainment and Instruction’: Country Houses Exhibited to the Public
1  ‘For the Numerous Strangers Who Visit’: Tourists’ Itineraries and Practices
2  ‘A Sumptuous Pile of Building’: Remaking the Sights and Spaces of the House
3  ‘Eminent in Public Estimation’: The Transformation of Country Houses’ Paintings and Sculptures
4  ‘A Degree of Taste and Elegance’: Commenting on Country Houses’ Interiors
5  ‘The Beauties of Nature’: Descriptions of Country-House Gardens and Parks
Conclusion: ‘The Visitor of Today’: Legacies of 18th-Century Country-House Tourism

Appendix: Country-house Guidebooks

New Book | Raynham Hall

Posted in books by internjmb on January 24, 2018

From ACC Distribution:

Michael Ridgdill, Raynham Hall: An English Country House Revealed (Woodbridge: Antique Collectors Club, 2018), 224 pages, ISBN: 978 18514 98604, £30.

On the eve of its 400th anniversary, Raynham Hall is experiencing a renaissance. The present Marquess and Marchioness Townshend are breathing new life into this ancient family house, which has been passed down through generation after generation, and are sharing its treasures with the public for the first time.

As one of the earliest examples of neo-Palladian architecture in England, and with significant William Kent interiors, Raynham Hall is now the focal point of an entire book devoted to its evolution as a splendid country house and as the seat of one of England’s most important families.

This book serves as the first comprehensive survey of the house, its history, its evolution, and divulges the history of the Townshend family, whose impact on British politics has been felt since before the sixteen hundreds.


Michael Ridgdill founded the American Friends of British Art in 2003, with the mission to help restore and preserve historic art and architecture in Great Britain. Based in Florida, his summers are spent in England, exploring historic sites and meeting with key individuals in the heritage sector. As the charity’s head, Dr. Ridgdill works to promote American appreciation for Britain’s historic treasures, which is achieved by hosting guest lecturers from the UK to give talks in the US and by guiding Americans on country house tours across England. Dr Ridgdill is a native Floridian with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. His lifelong passion for architecture and history has been the driving force behind the success of the American Friends of British Art, whose supporters are spread across the United States.

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