The Country House

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The Country House

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The Country House
Material culture and consumption

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Jon Stobart and Andrew Hann (eds.)
Published by
Historic England
Publication Date
15 December 2015
256 pages, 100 ills
219 x 276 mm
Architectural History

The country house has long been recognised as a symbol of elite power - a showpiece demonstrating the wealth and ambition of its owner, but also their taste and discernment. Ownership of a country house distinguished the landed classes from the rest of society and signalled an individual's arrival amongst a privileged elite. Yet, as the contributions to this book amply demonstrate, the country house in Britain and elsewhere in Europe was much more than this; it was a lived and living space, populated by family, visitors and servants. This formed the context in which decisions were made about what to buy, what to keep and what could be discarded; about what taste comprised and how it would be balanced against financial constraints or the imperatives of pedigree and heritance.

In this collection, consumption is thus explored as an active and on-going process that involved the mundane as well as the magnificent. It drew the country house into complex and overlapping networks of supply that stretched from the local to the international. Material culture and elite identity were shaped by a cosmopolitan mixture of the everyday, the European and the exotic; food from the kitchen garden was served à la Française from Chinese porcelain.  
  • Introduction Jon Stobart: The country house and cultures of consumption
  • Section 1: Elites, consumption and the country house
  • Section 2: Continuity, heritage and the country house
  • Section 3: Eastern connections, adoptions and imitations
  • Section 4: Country house interiors as lived spaces
  • Section 5: Presenting the country house

Online Shop | Historic England / English Heritage | Architectural History |  The Country House

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