Wednesday 28 July 2021

Book Review: The Story of the Country House by Clive Aslet (Non-Fiction/History)

Title: The Story of the Country House
Author: Clive Aslet
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 14 September 2021
Pages: 256
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction/History
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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.


The Story of the Country House was a delightful and informative read. As someone who has always enjoyed visiting National Trust and English Heritage properties, it was fascinating to read more about the development of such residences, both in terms of their use and their architectural style. Aslet's prose is easy flowing and though full of information never feels stodgy or weighed down by the recitation of facts. In truth, he paints a compelling picture of the houses and their owners, with fun tidbits mingled into the more scholarly discussion. This is a book that will please anyone with an interest in English history and/or English country estates and stately homes. It gets 4.5 stars from me.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

No comments:

Post a Comment