Life in the English Country House

A Social and Architectural History
Mark Girouard
Introduced by Simon Jenkins
Preface by Mark Girouard

Before Downton Abbey graced our televisions, Mark Girouard went behind the scenes of England’s country houses. His fascinating bestseller is newly imagined in a stunning Folio edition with architect-designed binding.

From Blenheim Palace and Windsor Castle to Hardwick Hall and Audley End, the doors of England’s country houses are thrown open in this revealing history. First published almost 40 years ago, social historian Mark Girouard’s ground-breaking work shifts the focus of upper-class residences from pure architectural merit to function and purpose. Travelling from the Middle Ages to the time of Wodehouse and Waugh, Girouard presents the evolution of these houses through the people who lived and worked there: the clandestine encounters following the installation of backstairs; the time-saving move from candlelight to light switch; and the welcome arrival of flushing toilets. You’ll discover how buildings were repurposed over the centuries, and be introduced to the politicians and aristocrats who lived there, as well as the cooks, maids and butlers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.

This new large-format edition includes over 120 exceptional colour and black-and-white photographs. Largely sourced from the archives of Country Life, they include a wide selection by Edwin Smith, one of the greatest architectural photographers of the 20th century. As well as detailed house plans and room interiors, there are paintings by Hogarth, Turner and Constable that show off country-house settings and their lavish decor, and oil portraits of owners, including Bess of Hardwick and Lord Armstrong of Cragside. Simon Jenkins adds his wealth of English Heritage and National Trust experience to an introduction that reinstates the importance of Girouard’s work. And the final flourish to this desirable edition: an exquisite wraparound binding by renowned architectural artist John Pumfrey.

Bound in printed and blocked cloth with a design by John Pumfrey

Set in Arno Pro

376 pages

75 integrated black & white illustrations, 24 house plans and 24 pages of colour plates

Printed endpapers with a design by John Pumfrey

Printed and blocked slipcase

11½˝ x 8˝

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