Captivating the senses and the imagination, Country is a new kind of lifestyle book - it allows you to live the dream.
In Country, internationally-renowned designer Jasper Conran uses his own experiences and the landscapes and homes that are familiar to him to portray a seductive way of life. The allure of the countryside has a universal appeal. How do we achieve the dream? It is not about spending money, or prescribing to a certain style, it is about a personal sense of appreciation, self-expression and the wish to get back to the root of what makes us tick.
Moving from one season to the next, from interior to exterior, from detail to landscape, this book shows life as it is actually lived in the British countryside today. It is one man's vision that informs the reader by captivating the senses and the imagination. Beautifully conceived, beautifully photographed and beautifully written, Country is a new kind of lifestyle book - it allows you to live the dream. Country is realistic, full of ideas and completely engrossing - a book with which to spend time.
In essential ways, Jasper Conran's book defies genre pigeonholes. Its publisher calls Country a lifestyle book, but its evocations of rural folkways and amusements form only part of its subtly dispensed aesthetic message. Like country living, this pictorial tour guide is to be savored, its lessons learned one rainy day at a time. Editor's recommendation.
From Barnes & Noble
Publisher: Octopus Books, Inc.
Publication date: 9/5/2012
Sales rank: 315.320
Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)
My perfect weekend: Jasper Conran
Fashion designer Jasper Conran loves gardening, antiquing, setting mousetraps and roasting chickens in the Dorset countryside .
By Angela Wintle11:04AM BST 12 Aug 2010 in The Telegraph
I never stay in London at weekends. My working week is pretty intense – particularly in the run up to a fashion show – so I usually hightail it out on a Friday afternoon and head for Paddington.
It’s a two-hour rail journey to my country home – a large Queen Anne house set in 38 acres near Sherborne in Dorset. I whistle past some beautiful scenery, although I’ve usually got my nose in a book. I’m currently reading James Lees-Milne’s wartime diaries. I know I’m nearing home when I pass the White Horse, etched into the hillside at Westbury.
I bought my current house three years ago and it’s Grade I listed. When I was a child, my parents had a little painting depicting a manor house in the distance and I was absolutely transfixed by this scene. I thought: “One day, I’m going to have me one of those.” I love houses. I think I’ve got a house obsession.
As soon as I reach home, my Tibetan terriers, Buster, Quincy and Frank, fly at me and I take them for a walk around the garden. My gardens play every tune. There’s an 18th-century formal garden, wooded areas and a big kitchen garden – my pride and joy. I grow everything from organic peas, carrots and potatoes to asparagus, beetroot and salads. I also have an orchard with apples, pears, peaches and plum trees.
I love planning changes and I’m currently redesigning the flower borders. Dahlias are terribly funny and charming, and I’m very partial to a parrot tulip. But the squirrels keep digging up my bulbs and the mice have been nibbling my shoots. I’m dealing with the problem head on – I’ve installed mousetraps.
When I get back to the house, I usually have a late lunch with my friend Edward, an antiques dealer, and we leaf through auction catalogues. I recently bought a beautiful George II table, which is a great source of joy to me.
On Saturdays, I get up at 6.30am, let the dogs out and make a cup of tea with Radio 4 in the background. Breakfast is poached egg on toast, using eggs gathered from my 12 Rhode Island Reds.
Weekends are never the same, although I often have friends or family to stay. My father [Terence Conran] and his wife Vicki often come over from Berkshire. He rarely comments on my home improvements, but takes it all in. I think my antics amuse him.
I love entertaining and often spend Saturday mornings shopping for Sunday lunch in Sherborne with my friend Karin. There’s a terrific fishmonger, who gets all his fish fresh from Brixham in Devon, and a wonderful deli and farmers’ market.
In the afternoon, I frequently drive into the countryside. This sits at odds with my urban image, but I actually adore village fetes and old country houses. Stourhead, the Palladian mansion in Wiltshire owned by the National Trust, is a favourite and I like nosing around Bruton, a lovely Somerset town dating back to Saxon times. I regularly visit my stepmother or go riding with my friend Patti, who keeps a farm with an amazing array of billy goats. She even has a pig that lives in the house.
In the evening, I’ll go out to dinner or watch a DVD. I’m very partial to a costume drama. Pride and Prejudice is a favourite – the film version. I don’t fancy Colin Firth!
On Sundays, if I’m expecting guests, I’ll pour myself a Bloody Mary, put on some Billie Holiday or Handel, and prepare lunch. My ideal menu would be roast chicken in tarragon sauce with peas, broad beans and baby carrots from the garden, followed by lemon syllabub. If it’s a sunny day, we’ll dine on the terrace. Afterwards, we often play my favourite word game, Snatch.
By the evening I’m usually exhausted, so once my guests have left I curl up on the sofa and watch some comfort television. I adore Larkrise to Candleford and was horrified when Seven Ages of Britain ended. Then it’s supper on a tray – sandwiches usually – before heading to bed for an early start.