I found the coolest book in my library before Christmas, The English Country House: From the Archives of Country Life edited by Mary Miers. When I realized we had just gotten it in, I went in search of it only to find it in the hands of a patron (he had just pulled it off the display rack). For a split second I contemplated asking if I could have it when he finished, but figured instead I would just check back in a few minutes. When I did, he was gone and so was the book! So I had to wait until it was returned after the holidays. Then I had to wait further until the weather was nice enough that I could lug it home on the bus! It's quite a hefty book, and really well worth the $85.00 sales tag. I want it, but I can't really afford to pay so much (even with Amazon's discount) so I am hoping the price falls a bit more. It's a gorgeous book if you're into architecture, particularly English country houses. Shall I give you a peek? Of course, come with me.
By the way, this is Daneway in Gloucestershire. Isn't it a pretty little "manor" (as described in the photo caption).
How about a look inside? Any room with stacks of books is a happy space in my opinion. Lots of history books from what I can tell. And those shelves with books laying across the tops of other books is awfully familiar.
I was really hoping that one of the houses might have been the locale for a costume drama. Maybe the Darcy home in Pride and Prejudice, but on a quick glimpse I don't recognize any (must read the fine print still, though). This is Nether Lypiatt again in Gloucestershire (the "ideal miniature Queen Anne house"). Miniature, indeed.
This is a pretty spiffy drawing room, don't you think? It's a little too elegant for me, I would be afraid of tracking dirt in or something. The house is Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire (not far from London). It was used for the filming of Gosford Park (I think I may have to watch it again this weekend and compare photos!). See what you can learn by reading the fine print?
More photos of the interior of Wrotham Park. I had to laugh--you see that dog laying there in that beautiful room? All I can think is his digs are much nicer than mine!
What do you think of this one? It's Newby Hall in Yorkshire. I could see myself taking a daily walk out in the garden, nipping down to the River Ure for a little peace and quiet. Quite nice, indeed!
After my exertions I would dash up to my bedroom for a quick lie down to refresh myself.
Now this one is very nice. The house is The Chantry in Somerset. Doesn't this look like a cozy room? I could happily stretch out on the sofa with my feet towards the fire and a book in hand. By the way, this was the home of author Anthony Powell from 1952 until he died in 2000. I wonder if those are his books?
One more. I couldn't pass up this library. It's in The Chanter's House in Devon. I think I might just fit all my books in a space like this. If I ever build on to my own house...No wait, this room is probably already bigger than my house. Well, one can dream.
All joking aside, this is a truly elegant coffee table book. I've just shared a very small smattering of what's inside the covers. Many of the "country houses" are really castles. I'm not sure I could imagine living in anything so beautiful, but it's nice to have an image in mind as I'm reading. Maybe a little cozy mystery set in a country house? I wonder if this is what someone like Ngaio Marsh or Dorothy Sayers had in mind?
This is a Rizzoli book by the way--they have some of the most beautiful art books, truly dazzling. And this one is filled with eye candy, so to speak. I'll be drooling over perusing it more this weekend.