Lasting Elegance: English Country Houses 1830-1900 by Michael Hall
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The great English country house tradition reached its apotheosis in the nineteenth century. Designed by all the most eminent architects of the age, houses constructed during this period were larger, more elaborate, and more lavishly furnished than ever before, and they became famous throughout Europe and America for their luxury, technological innovation, and convenience of plan.
Michael Hall's survey draws on the vast archive of the great British magazine Country Life to present the fullest visual record yet published of the Victorian-era country house in England and Wales. It ranges from the High Gothic of Tyntesfield to Ferdinand Rothschild's flamboyantly French Waddesdon Manor and Philip Webb's Arts and Crafts interiors at Standen. These remarkable photographs are in many cases the only record of the great houses in their heyday; those such as Wrest Park, Thoresby Hall, and Hewell Grange were all sold in the twentieth century and their magnificent furniture and priceless artwork and collections dispersed. Houses that have survived with their interiors intact but are little known or rarely accessible to the public also feature prominently, such as Flintham Hall and the Earl of Harrowby's Sandon Hall. Highclere Castle, now famous as TV's Downton Abbey, features prominently.
Spectacular color photographs provide a fascinating look at some of the most celebrated houses of the period, from A. W. N. Pugin's Scarisbrick Hall and William Burges's Cardiff Castle to J. F. Bentley's Carlton Towers and J. D. Crace's astonishing interiors at Longleat. This chronologically arranged survey of Victorian houses spans the decades from the 1830s to the 1890s and includes not only new houses, but also historic county seats that have been in families for generations and were given major renovations or additions in this era. With over 150 superb color and black-and-white photographs specially selected to highlight the century's most significant houses and their architects and an authoritative commentary by Michael Hall, this book provides a thorough overview of a major period in British architectural history.