Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History

Life in the English Country House A Social and Architectural History This best selling book is a beautifully illustrated history of the English country house from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century In it renowned architectural historian Mark Girouard presents a

  • Title: Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History
  • Author: Mark Girouard
  • ISBN: 9780300058703
  • Page: 268
  • Format: Paperback
  • This best selling book is a beautifully illustrated history of the English country house from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century In it, renowned architectural historian Mark Girouard presents a rare and revealing glimpse of the English upper classes their public and personal lives, their servants, and their homes A deeply important book, one of the most interestinThis best selling book is a beautifully illustrated history of the English country house from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century In it, renowned architectural historian Mark Girouard presents a rare and revealing glimpse of the English upper classes their public and personal lives, their servants, and their homes A deeply important book, one of the most interesting contributions to architectural history J H Plumb, The New York Review of Books A survey of country houses through the past five centuries, from a broad range of materials family archives, literature, plans and photographs The book itself is a physical artifact of surpassing beauty which could fit on the grandest table in the houses it describes David Hackett Fischer, The New Republic Informative, balanced, knowledgeable, and witty The New Yorker This enthralling and immensely informative bookls with wit, scholarship, and lucidity how the country house evolved to meet the needs and reflect the social attitudes of the times Philip Ziegler, The Times One of those very useful and very enjoyable books that the learned can seldom write, and the entertaining seldom achieve clear, detailed, and witty Angus Wilson, The Observer Winner of the 1978 Duff Cooper Memorial Prize and the W H Smith Son Annual Literary Award for 1979.

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      268 Mark Girouard
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    1 thought on “Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History”

    1. I have just finished reading this book cover to cover (over the course of several weeks). I have an old beat-up copy and went at it pencil-in-hand. It was a fantastic overview of the social and architectural history of English country houses from medieval seats of power to country retreats for the new rich in the early 20th century. I now have a long list of artists and writers to look up from various time periods, if I decide to go down the rabbit hole of further research.

    2. This is, without a doubt, the best book about English country houses I have ever read, and I've read some very good ones. It would be relevant to everyone from those seriously researching any major time period of English history (medieval and beyond) to those who merely occasionally visit country houses.What sets it apart is that Girouard establishes the lifestyles within these houses in each major time period, then shows how the changing world influenced the changing of house architecture. So i [...]

    3. I suppose this is a seminal book which describes in almost loving detail the lives of the betters of English society. It is readable and fascinating about the utter contrast of life above and below stairs and the unthinking assumption of superiority of the well born.

    4. I read this in combination with Life in the French Country House and am discussing them together. . . .Both books start out with the medieval houses and households of lords and kings and lesser gentlemen and trace the history up to modern times. Which means, naturally, that they also trace the fortunes and practices of the nobility who lived in them. Not the same information for both. For instance, he talks about how one was supposed to become a French marquis or duke, or baron, or count: You ha [...]

    5. Anyone who has read Jane Austen or Thackeray, or followed the adventures of Hercule Poirot, or has watched Gosford Park, has had some exposure to the cliché of the English country house and its denizens. There were large estates in medieval times, of course, but the country estate to which the wealthy (which usually meant the titled) could escape from the city, is largely an outgrowth of Henry VIII stripping the Church of its rural properties and turning them over to those families who had supp [...]

    6. A widely admired and often cited overview of the history of the English country house, those great houses of the landowning political, cultural, and economic elites, from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. As culture and social structures change, the patterns of households and daily life change with them, so the spaces in which those lives are lived can provide a physical counterpart to other things. As a survey, the book necessarily skims over a lot of complex and important detail, but i [...]

    7. Dense, but still approachable. I'll admit, I skimmed most of the chapters on the medieval house, its just not an area that I'm interested in. When you have a 500 page history, sometimes you have to pick and choose. Girouard is best known for this work for a reason, its unbelievably comprehensive, and well researched from a diverse range of sources. The term "definitive work" gets thrown around a lot, but in this case this might just be it.

    8. I borrowed this book to do research for my first Regency romance. As a reader of history, I enjoyed the book very much. The book delves deeply into a wide variety of grand houses in England throughout history with pictures and floor plans to accompany excellent text.However, as for gathering info for my research, I was disappointed. No much info was offered for that period of time.

    9. I remember reading this for a history class in college and really enjoying it. I wrote a paper about it and received a D, the first in my life. The prof couldn't say what exactly was wrong with my paper but summed it up by saying it was the paper of an English major, not a history major.

    10. I particularly liked the chapter on the development of indoor plumbing. Always an interesting (and often taboo) topic.

    11. Library sale find. Flipped through it, looked interesting, so grabbed it. Who knows when I'll actually read it read it, but neat to have.

    12. I think this is a great piece of work. There is so much information the author has looked at -- architectural and documentary -- and he presents a narrative that is fascinating to read.

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