The Story of the Country House A History of Places and People Clive Aslet

Publication date:
14 Sep 2021
Yale University Press
256 pages: 216 x 140mm
60 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:

Buy this eBook

You can purchase this title from a number of online retailers:

The fascinating story of the evolution of the country house in Britain, from its Roman precursors to the present

The Story of the Country House is an authoritative and vivid account of the British country house, exploring how they have evolved with the changing political and economic landscape. Clive Aslet reveals the captivating stories behind individual houses, their architects, and occupants, and paints a vivid picture of the wider context in which the country house in Britain flourished and subsequently fell into decline before enjoying a renaissance in the twenty-first century. The genesis, style, and purpose of architectural masterpieces such as Hardwick Hall, Hatfield House, and Chatsworth are explored, alongside the numerous country houses lost to war and economic decline. We also meet a cavalcade of characters, owners with all their dynastic obsessions and diverse sources of wealth, and architects such as Inigo Jones, Sir John Vanbrugh, Robert Adam, Sir John Soane and A.W.N. Pugin, who dazzled or in some cases outraged their contemporaries. The Story of the Country House takes a fresh look at this enduringly popular building type, exploring why it continues to hold such fascination for us today.

Clive Aslet is a writer, commentator, historian, editor, and academic. He has written around twenty books on architecture and history and was editor of Country Life magazine from 1993 to 2006.

The Story of the Country House is a witty, well-researched and absorbing retelling of the story of the British country house. Clive Aslet brings to life a fascinating cast of characters – the builders, their families, their servants and their architects, all living to nurture the beau idéal of the country house – and charts their changing fortunes and hidden histories.

Clive Aslet is the Capo dei Capi of British country houses – few people alive today have visited more of them, or understand them better, or better know where the bodies are buried. His six decades as architectural historian and Editor, his authoritative eye, matchless prose and perfect country house manners, combine to make him the ideal person to explore this important topic.

Aslet has spent a lifetime exploring and investigating the architectural and social history of the country house and in this concise, but magisterial sweep he provides an elegant and perceptive introduction to the subject from the medieval to the present day. It is a must for the library of every country house enthusiast or anyone indeed anyone trying to understand this rich and dynamic subject in which so many threads of British culture and history meet. Aslet peppers his discerning fluent, scholarly overview with well chosen details and contemporary quotations which evoke country house culture in each period.