New Book | The Country House Past, Present, Future

Posted in books by Editor on December 9, 2018

From Rizzoli:

Jeremy Musson and David Cannadine with a foreword by Tim Parker and Lynne Rickabaugh, The Country House Past, Present, Future: Great Houses of The British Isles (New York: Rizzoli, 2018), 432 pages, ISBN: 978-0847862726, $85.

From Brideshead to Downton Abbey, the country house is a subject of fantasy and curiosity, as well as a rich resource to explore the history of great architecture and decoration and the lives of landowners and those who made the houses work. With hundreds of photographs from the National Trust, and others from public and private collections, this visually lavish volume draws back the curtain on important historic homes in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. At the same time it reveals the complex stories of these interiors, both grand and hidden, from great halls, libraries and entryways to the kitchens and stables and gardens. Locations featured include Knole, Cragside, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Polesden Lacey, Petworth, Bodiam Castle, Blenheim, Longleat, and dozens more.

An insightful essay by renowned British author and historian David Cannadine explores how the idea of the country house has changed over the past forty years. Additional essays reflect on how changing twentieth century values have impacted the country house, with contributions by writers and scholars such as Sarah Callander-Beckett on the private house, Dr. Madge Dresser on slavery and the country house, and Dr. Oliver Cox on the ‘Downton Abbey effect.’ The texts are woven around extensive picture essays, introduced and curated by country house specialist Jeremy Musson, which look at the identity and image of British country houses of all kinds and the stories they contain.

David Cannadine is on the board of the Royal Oak Foundation (the American arm of the National Trust in Britain). The author of seventeen books, Cannadine has taught at Oxford, Cambridge, and Princeton. He is the president of the British Academy and editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and has served as chairman of the trustees of the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Jeremy Musson is a leading commentator and author on the British country house. He was architectural editor of Country Life from 1998 to 2007 and remains a regular contributor. Musson is the author of seventeen books including English Country House Interiors, Robert Adam, and The Drawing Room. A trustee of the Country Houses Foundation and the Stowe House Preservation Trust, he is also the co-writer and presenter of the BBC2’s The Curious House.


Tim Park and Lynne Rickabaugh, Foreword

• David Cannadine The British Country House Revisited
• Jeremy Musson, Design and Construction
• Sarah Callander-Beckett, An Inheritance Restored: A Private Owner’s Experience
• David Adshead, Sharing Treasures: The National Trust for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland
• Jeremy Musson, Magnificence and Power
• Jeremy Musson Wealth and Consumption
• Terence Dooley, Stories of the ‘Big House’: New Approaches in Irish Country House Studies
• Jeremy Musson, Pleasure and Recreation
• Jeremy Musson Household and Function
• Madge Dresser, Legacies of British Slave Ownership: Facing a Difficult Past
• James Raven, When the Walls Come Down: After the Destruction of Marks Hall
• Jeremy Musson, Destruction and Survival
• Oliver Cox, Downton Abbey and the Country House: Exploring New Fictions

About the Royal Oak Foundation
Contributions and Acknowledgments
Photographic and Copyright Credits

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