All I Want for Christmas ~ Anything Jane Austen! ~ Day II: For Your Bookshelf

All I Want for Christmas, Day II

For Your Bookshelf

English Country House Interiors, by Jeremy Musson.  Foreword by Sir Roy Strong; Photography by Paul Barker. New York: Rizzoli, 2011.

ISBN: 978-0-8478-3569-0
$60. [though Amazon has it for $38., much as I hate to say that…]

This book I should very much like to add to my collection on English architecture and stately homes [loud hint to my family…] – I discovered this at the UVM Library and have brought it home to peruse – extensive commentary and lovely photographs of the interior details of the fourteen houses included – here is the blurb from the publisher, Rizzoli

A highly detailed look at the English country house interior, offering unprecedented access toEngland’s finest rooms. In this splendid book, renowned historian Jeremy Musson explores the interiors and decoration of the great country houses ofEngland, offering a brilliantly detailed presentation of the epitome of style in each period of the country house, including the great Jacobean manor house, the Georgian mansion, and the Gothic Revival castle. For the first time, houses known worldwide for their exquisite architecture and decoration–includingWilton, Chatsworth, and Castle Howard–are seen in unprecedented detail. With intimate views of fabric, gilding, carving, and furnishings, the book will be a source of inspiration to interior designers, architects, and home owners, and a must-have for anglophiles and historic house enthusiasts. 

The fourteen houses included represent the key periods in the history of English country house decoration and cover the major interior fashions and styles. Stunning new color photographs by Paul Barker-who was given unparalleled access to the houses-offer readers new insights into the enduring English country house style. Supplementing these are unique black-and-white images from the archive of the esteemed Country Life magazine. 

Among the aspects of these that the book covers are: paneling, textile hangings (silks to cut velvet), mural painting, plasterwork, stone carving, gilding, curtains, pelmets, heraldic decoration, classical imagery, early upholstered furniture, furniture designed by Thomas Chippendale, carved chimney-pieces, lass, use of sculpture, tapestry, carpets, picture hanging, collecting of art and antiques, impact of Grand Tour taste, silver, use of marble, different woods, the importance of mirror glass, boulle work, English Baroque style, Palladian style, neo-Classical style, rooms designed by Robert Adam, Regency, Gothic Revival taste, Baronial style, French 18th century style, and room types such as staircases, libraries, dining rooms, parlors, bedrooms, picture galleries, entrance halls and sculpture galleries. 

The range is from the early 17th century to present day, drawn from the authenticated interiors of fourteen great country houses, almost all still in private hands and occupied as private residences still today. The book shows work by twentieth-century designers who have helped evolve the country house look, including Nancy Lancaster, David Hicks, Colefax & Fowler, and David Mlinaric.

The Table of Contents:  I’ve added some exterior shots and links for several of the houses – you will have to buy the book for the sumptuous interior adventure! 

1.   Hatfield House: The Courtly Jacobean Interior 

2.   Wilton House: The Courtly Caroline Interior 

Wilton House

3.   Broughton House: The Taste for France 

4.   Chatsworth: The English Baroque Interior 

5.   Castle Howard: The Imagination of Vanbrugh 

6.    Houghton Hall: The Palladian Interior I 

Houghton Hall

 7.    Holkham Hall: The Palladian Interior II 

8.    Harewood House: The Genius of Robert Adam I

Harewood House

9.    Syon House: The Genius of Robert Adam II

Syon House

 10.  Goodwood House: The Regency Revolution in Taste 

11.  Regency Reinvention: Some Houses Revisited 

12.  Arundel Castle: The Gothic Revival Interior 

13.  Waddesdon Manor: The Inspiration of the Chateau 

Waddesdon Manor

14.   Berkeley Castle: The Castle of Taste 

15.  Parham House: The Cult of the Manor House

Parham House

 16.  Living Interiors: The English Country House Interior Today


 Not included is the house used in Downton Abbey, seen here, and certainly on everyone’s mind as we approach Season 2!:

Highclere Castle

 And if you want another book to add to your collection that belongs on your shelf next to the above, you should add this to your list – hopefully Santa is listening, watching, and making his own list, and you have not been naughty but have only been nice the whole year long …

 The English Country House: From the Archives of Country Life

Written by Mary Miers, Contribution by Jeremy Musson, Tim Richardson, Tim Knox and Marcus Binney. New York: Rizzoli, 2009.
ISBN: 978-0-8478-3057-2 , $85.  

And here is one interior bit to whet your appetite all the more:

[Syon House – detail of the ceiling of the Red Drawing Room, p. 148]

What are your favorite English architecture / interior decoration books – ones you have or ones you want?

Copyright @2011 Jane Austen in Vermont 

3 thoughts on “All I Want for Christmas ~ Anything Jane Austen! ~ Day II: For Your Bookshelf

  1. I saw a customer browsing this book in the bookstore where I work and am tempted to look at the contents but alas, the customer purchased it before I can even take a peek inside. (There is only one copy) When the next batch of shipment arrives, I will definitely take a look and decide whether it is worth spending my money on it because the book is pretty expensive.

    Anyway, thanks Deb for letting us know which houses are featured inside the book.


  2. Ive got the Musson book, Deb and it is a very lovely tour of some great places. I meant to write about it when I got tin July- but….LOL..I’ll try and fit it in next year. It is sumptuous. Great for armchair tourism. And the photographs are slightly unusual-picking out detail that the normal Country House books forget.


    • Hi Julie! – I assumed you must have this! – was hoping you had done a review so I could link to it! – I have only skimmed the book, so could not do a substantial review, but the photographs are as you say, very unique in their choice and detail – it is quite lovely throughout, the ceiling image one small example…

      Thanks for commenting Julie – I look forward to your review – I alas! must return the library book!


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