"I am sure that this book will give great pleasure to any who open its covers." —Julian Fellowes, from the Foreword
Stately, grand, and a testament to the generations who have cared for them, the 10 English country houses featured in this volume are architecturally distinctive and filled with evocative family memorabilia, from commissioned portraits to monogrammed heirloom dinner services to the bells that once summoned the downstairs staff. Like the fictional Downton Abbey, these real homes are still in the hands of descendants of the original owners.
From Kentchurch Court, which has been the seat of the Scudamore family for nearly 1,000 years, to a delightful Gothic house in rural Cornwall to a charming ducal palace to Goodwood House, England’s greatest sporting estate, this beautifully illustrated book showcases a wealth of gardens, interiors, and fine art collections. James Peill, coauthor of Vendome’s The Irish Country House, recounts the ups and downs of the deep-rooted clans who constructed these homes and illuminates the history and legends behind these marvelous estates, many of which have never before been published. Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, contributes a foreword.
Praise for The English Country House:
"For hundreds of years generation after generation of the families that built these rarely seen houses, has added to the delights seen within and without." -Min Hogg
"Whatever virtues one assigns to the English country house (. . . .a daunting coffee table book just out from the Vendome Press), coziness is not one of them. . . .And yet the drafty beauty of the estates is such that it would clearly be worth enduring centuries upon centuries of emotional remoteness just to hang on to all that pomp and silver and canopied beds and coffered ceilings and graceful balustrades nestled in the sheepy hills." — TownandCountryMag.com
"There's something mysterious about a stately home in the English countryside. . . . Peill takes a closer look at 10 such homes. . . . As if the beautiful photographs of the interiors and vistas weren't enough, Peill's text also looks at the histories and legacies of the families who occupied these estates." — MarthaStewart.com
This review is from: The English Country House (Hardcover)
By L. M. Keefer / November 8, 2013 / http://www.amazon.com/English-Country-House-James-Peill/product-reviews/0865653062/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1
Over 1000 English Country houses were demolished between the years 1945 and
England. Imagining that much history and beauty lost forever, it makes our
reverence for, and appreciation of, these charming English country homes even
more important. In this beautiful volume ten elegant English country homes are
featured. Ranging from medieval times to the early 20th century, a cornucopia
of styles are revealed: Medieval, Jacobean, Elizabethan, Tudor, Palladian,
Baroque, Jacobethan, Picturesque, Gothic to Arts and Crafts styles. And
sometimes you'll see a mix of these styles in one home as succeeding
generations have added additions and updated the homes.
Up until 1914 the gentry owned one-half of England, this book tells us. Now they own less than 1%. The homes detailed in this gorgeous book have remained in their families, some for over 1000 years. Here's an overview of the homes included:
* KENTCHURCH COURT ~ in Heresford on border of England and Wales. About 1000 years old. A 1460 portrait has Kentchurch in background - an "earliest known depiction of an English country house." Originally a fortified manor.
* PRIDEAUX PLACE ~ in Cornwall. Completed 1592. E-shaped Elizabethan manor house. Occupied by American Army during WWII. Only six of its 45 bedrooms are habitable. Used in Rosemary Pilcher films.
* MILTON ~ in Cambridgeshre. Built 1391. William Fitzwilliam bought manor in 1502. William was treasurer to Cardinal Wolsey who was entertained here. Daphne De Maurier visited and based interiors in REBECCA on this home.
* BADMINTON ~ in Gloustershire. Recorded in Domesday book in 1275. English version of badminton sport invented here. Badminton court is size of Great Hall of this home. Queen Mary came here during WWII with 55 servants.
* EUSTON ~ in Norfolk. Queen Elizabeth I stayed on estate. New home built on site in late 1600's. Many fine paintings of royalty from 1700's hang on walls.
* GOODWOOD HOUSE ~ in Sussex. Originally hunting lodge of Duke of Richmond in 1697. Has a Tapestry Room with French tapestries on walls. Celebrated as England's greatest sporting estate - cricket first played here.
* HACKTHORN HALL ~ in Lincolnshire. Original Elizabethan home. Owners have Jane Austen and Tennyson in family tree. Originally H-shaped with Dutch style gables. Pulled down and new 2-story, square neoclassical villa built.
* MADRESFIELD COURT ~ in Worcestershire. Probably wattle-and-daub manor house around 1086. Has a moat. Evelyn Waugh wrote BLACK MISCHIEF here, used owners as inspiration for BRIDESHEAD REVISITED. Rebuilt in 1860's for 25 years.
* INWOOD ~ in Somerset. Rebuilt in 1879. No clear style. Owners loved collecting. Collection of hunting horns.
* RODMARTON MANOR ~ in Gloustershire. Began construction in 1909 - one of best examples of Arts & Crafts style. Built in three stages - finished in 1929.
You feel you are on an English Country House tour here of some of the lesser-known and smaller English Country houses. The photography is stunning and the quality of paper is thick. There is background on the history, owners, architectural work and art in the homes. Some photos take up double pages, or full pages. Some photos are three to four on a page. If you can't get enough of English Country homes and style, this lovely book should be a five-star read for you.