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

Publication date:
28 Sep 2021
Yale University Press
256 pages: 216 x 140mm
72 color + b-w illus.
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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.

“Some of those details are jawdropping...What Aslet does best is provide a crisp, chronological survey of how the country house evolved architecturally from early Tudor times through to Lutyens in the early 20th century and to Quinlan Terry and the like today.”—Richard Morrison, The Times


“Leaving no stone unturned, this fascinating book allows readers to acquaint themselves with the architects of these houses, and their many interesting occupants.”—This England

“Written in a wonderfully accessible style...Examples abound, lively and amusing, but always subservient to the narrative. It’s a perfect primer for anyone new to the subject, but even aficionados will enjoy it for pleasure of reading a magisterial overview of Britain’s quintessential cultural form.”—Historic House Magazine


“The 223 pages can be read in one gripping sitting and create a desire to rush off and visit the many houses mentioned...Mr Aslet’s nimble book is the perfect companion guide.”—Jeremy Musson, Country Life