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

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
Publication date:
13 Jun 2008
Yale University Press
356 pages: 280 x 230 x 25mm
200 b&w illustrations + 80 colour images

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 of the 180 houses under discussion, the book presents a whole range of new insights into how these homes were designed and what their varied plans 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 Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain. Alison Maguire is an independent architectural historian. Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

?A well illustrated general account of the evolution of country house plans ? expositions are clear and well supported by the plans and illustrations. The presentation is excellent.? - Northern History, Vol. 46

"A deeply researched . . . examination of British house design and function form the Middle Ages through the early 18th century. . . . Gomme offers an enormous number of examples, bolstered by over 500 plans and illustrations?many in color and for the most part excellent. . . . This work is a significant addition to the literature on British domestic architecture. . . . Highly recommended."?Choice

"The specific theses of this work are quite groundbreaking. . . .The scope of the book is truly impressive. . . .This is a remarkably rich book that carries its impressive learning with great style. . . .Without a doubt, this fascinating study makes an important contribution to the field of architectural history."?Barbara Arciszewska, Journal of British Studies

“Highly recommended . . . groundbreaking in its depth . . . a rare tour of country houses for scholar and general reader alike.”—Manner of Man magazine