The English Country House book, hereby referred to as ECH, may not be the type of “Country” you know. Anglophiles and any folks who are crazy for England and anything British will flip over these historical palaces, estates and castles, akin to Downton Abbey or better.
There is a lot to be learned for decorators by studying these historical masterpieces: for these palatial homes have a display of arts that will never be produced again such as, intricate hand carvings, family paintings, plaster work and heavily-involved ceiling treatments from coffer styles to illustrated renderings.
In the foreword of ECH, author Julian Fellowes tells us that each of the ten homes featured have all been passed through as family homes to heirs—never sold out-right. And indeed, that does yield special results. We see families who preserved the “hunt” tradition, families with commissioned portraiture, and families that once had large staff and groundskeepers, (and many probably still do).
"There is a lot to be learned for decorators by studying these historical masterpieces..."
We see beautiful rugs, ancient wall treatments including wood paneling, thousands of books, Queen Anne furniture and other vintage case goods, interesting lamps; both tattered and embroidered textiles, bas reliefs, gilt and more.
This book is a treasure trove of historical splendor, allowing us a glimpse into what life was like for hundreds-year-old families and their lineage.
Lovingly photographed by James Fennell with an eye toward architectural detail, detailing beautiful landscape and gardens, immutable art collections and fully decorated dense rooms are like still life puzzles—with each photo a search for the eye.
The Vendome Press again doing what it does best, making the large cocktail-sized book more breathtaking with every page.
The English Country House by James Peill, foreword by Julian Fellowes and photographed by James Fennell, The Vendome Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-86565-306-1. Retail: $55.