Friday, 1 June 2012

M/M Design and Plan in the Country House

Image provided by Yale University Press. All rights reserved.

Design and Plan in the Country House
From Castle Donjons to Palladian Boxes
by Andor Gomme and Alison Maguire

Manner of Man Editorial Commentary

Published by Yale University Press in 2008 for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art,  this volume Design and Plan in the Country House provides a significant level of scholarly insight into the planning and execution of what is best known as the English Country House. This is an essential library volume for architects, scholars, and those holding a great interest in the historical aspects of residential planning and in particular British domestric architecture on a grand scale. The book contains 352 pages with 200 black and white and 80 color illustrations and is highly recommended.

The way a man thinks about his day-to-day living and the needs of his household reveals a great deal about his ambitions, his idea of himself, and his role in the community. And his house or castle offers many clues to his habits as well as those of the members of his household. This intriguing book explores the evolution of country house plans throughout Britain and Ireland, from medieval times to the eighteenth century. With photographs and detailed architectural plans of each house under discussion, the book presents a whole range of new insights into how these homes were designed and what their varied designs tell us about the lives of their residents.

Starting with fortified medieval tower houses, the book traces patterns that developed and sometimes repeated in country house design over the centuries. It discusses who slept in the bedchambers, where food was prepared, how rooms were arranged for official and private activities, what towers signified, and more. Groundbreaking in its depth, the volume offers a rare tour of country houses for scholar and general reader alike.

Andor Gomme is Emeritus Professor of English Literature and Architectural History, Keele University, and former chairman of the Architectural History Society of Great Britain. Alison Maguire is an independent architectural historian.