Synopses & Reviews
Dan Cruickshank uncovers the secret history of six of Britain's greatest private country houses, each never-before seen on television, and none open to the public
Spanning the architectural history of the country house from the disarming Elizabethan charm of South Wraxall, the classical rigor of Kinross in Scotland, the majesty and ingenuity of Hawksmoors Easton Neston, the Palladian sweep of Wentworth Woodhouse with over 300 rooms and frontage of 600 feet, the imperial exuberance of Clandeboye, through to the ebullient vitality of Lutyens Marshcourt, the stories of these houses tell the story of the English nation. All are buildings of the greatest architectural interest, each with a fascinating human story to tell, and all remain private homes that are closed to the public. But their owners have opened their doors and allowed Dan Cruickshank to roam the corridors and rummage in the cellars as he teases out the story of each house—who built them, the generations who lived in them, and the families who lost them. Along the way he has uncovered tales of excess and profligacy, tragedy, comedy, power, and ambition. And as these intriguing narratives take shape, Dan shows how the story of each house is inseparable from the social and economic history of Britain. Each one is built as a wave of economic development crests, or crumbles. Each ones architecture and design is thus expressive of the aims, strengths, and frailties of those who built them. Together they plot the psychological, economic, and social route map of the countrys ruling class in a rich new telling of this island story.
About the Author
DAN CRUICKSHANK is an architectural historian and television presenter. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, has served on the Executive Committee of the Georgian Group and on the Architectural Panel of the National Trust. He has also been a visiting professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Sheffield and was editor for the RIBA and the University of London of the 20th edition of Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture. His recent work includes The Secret History of Georgian London and for BBC television the series and accompanying books Around the World in 80 Treasures and Dan Cruickshank's Adventures in Architecture.