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Richard Altick

3 December 1981
The Return to Camelot: Chivalry and the English Gentleman 
by Mark Girouard.
Yale, 312 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 0 300 02739 7
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... expanded into pretentiousness which then lapsed into absurdity, and noble sentiments carried within them the seeds of cant. These are the themes (though they are not spelled out in such a fashion) of MarkGirouard’s broad and crowded canvas. Through poetry, fiction, sermons, the literature of uplift, art and architecture, this machine-age recrudescence of Medieval idealism permeated Victorian ...

Brideshead Revered

David Cannadine

17 March 1983
The Country House 
by James Lees-Milne.
Oxford, 110 pp., £4.50, November 1982, 0 19 214139 2
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English Country Houses and Landed Estates 
by Heather Clemenson.
Croom Helm, 244 pp., £15.95, July 1982, 0 85664 987 2
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The Last Country Houses 
by Clive Aslet.
Yale, 344 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 300 02904 7
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... to be saying, have conservation without destruction, or a stay of execution without a sentence. This is not, of course, a universally valid dictum. Even the combined and mellifluous resources of MarkGirouard and Yale University Press have yet to unfurl the full panoply of best-selling nostalgia on behalf of such doomed and dodoed delights as education before the comprehensive (Life in the ...
7 February 1980
The Victorian Country House 
by Mark Girouard.
Yale, 470 pp., £14.95, September 1980, 0 300 02390 1
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The Artist and the Country House 
by John Harris.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, 376 pp., £37.50, November 1980, 0 85667 053 7
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National Trust Studies 1980 
edited by Gervase Jackson-Stops.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, 175 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 85667 065 0
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... town halls or power stations, the only purchasers are from that small, incestuous public interested in architecture, but country houses manage to secure a much wider, even popular, audience. MarkGirouard’s Life in the English Country House has actually become a best-seller – extraordinary in the field of architectural history – and its unprecedented success has encouraged Yale to issue as a ...


Gillian Darley: James Stirling

7 September 2000
Big Jim: The Life and Work of James Stirling 
by Mark Girouard.
Pimlico, 323 pp., £14, March 2000, 9780712664226
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... a vast number of objects made by a meticulous technique of inlay known as micromosaic, in which tiny fragments of glass are assembled to form a picture – not always in the best possible taste. MarkGirouard’s biography of James Stirling is constructed by a similar procedure, an astonishing accumulation of small details, asides and memories building up to a portrait. Big Jim is vividly told ...

Pugin’s Law

Mark​ Swenarton

4 December 1980
The Work of Sir Gilbert Scott 
by David Cole.
Architectural Press, 244 pp., £25, May 1980, 0 85139 723 9
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Lutyens Country Houses 
by Daniel O’Neill.
Lund Humphries, 167 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 85331 428 4
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A Revolution in London Housing: LCC Housing Architects and their Work 1893-1914 
by Susan Beattic.
GLC/Architectural Press, 127 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 85139 560 0
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... distribution of wealth) and need refer only to the mind and intentions of the architect. Accordingly, the social relationships (master to servant, husband to wife, family to outsiders) which, as MarkGirouard has shown, were crucial in determining the form of the country house are omitted altogether. Mr O’Neill is not interested in the life of the building after construction is completed, but ...

Mansions in Bloom

Ruth Richardson

23 May 1991
A Paradise out of a Common Field: The Pleasures and Plenty of the Victorian Garden 
by Joan Morgan and Alison Richards.
Century, 256 pp., £16.95, May 1990, 0 7126 2209 8
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Private Gardens of London 
by Arabella Lennox-Boyd.
Weidenfeld, 224 pp., £25, September 1990, 0 297 83025 2
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The Greatest Glasshouse: The Rainforest Recreated 
edited by Sue Minter.
HMSO, 216 pp., £25, July 1990, 0 11 250035 8
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Religion and Society in a Cotswold Vale: Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, 1780-1865 
by Albion Urdank.
California, 448 pp., $47.50, May 1990, 0 520 06670 7
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... multiple plants for flowerbeds. The volume begins and ends with the Victorian country house. It is beautifully produced, but falls short of the scholarship of works in this area by F.M.L. Thompson, MarkGirouard and Brent Elliott, to which it owes a great deal. The text represents an extensive trawl of material, which is presented in the form of a verbal scrapbook covering a range of topics, under ...

Room at the Top

Rosalind Mitchison

15 November 1984
An Open Elite? England 1540-1880 
by Lawrence Stone and Jeanne Fawtier Stone.
Oxford, 566 pp., £24, September 1984, 0 19 822645 4
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... Industrial Revolution much of this transference of funds was happening. Instead the graph shows us what we can anyway infer from the changing ideas of house type which have been described so well by MarkGirouard in Life in the English Country House. The two Southern counties went in for vast houses in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Those were the days when political ambition dictated a ...

I had to refrain

Andrew Saint: Pre-Raphaelite Houses

1 December 2005
Philip Webb: Pioneer of Arts and Crafts Architecture 
by Sheila Kirk.
Wiley-Academy, 336 pp., £29.99, February 2005, 0 470 86808 2
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... how their butler fed him in their absence, but adds that ‘I had to refrain from a lovely fruit pie and strawberries and cream set out to tempt me from the path of wisdom.’ Remarking on this, MarkGirouard has written: ‘One can’t help feeling that Webb would have been a happier man and a greater architect if he had helped himself to more strawberries and cream.’ Happier, perhaps; greater ...

Porringers and Pitkins

Keith Thomas: The Early Modern Household

5 July 2018
A Day at Home in Early Modern England: Material Culture and Domestic Life, 1500-1700 
by Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson.
Yale, 311 pp., £40, October 2017, 978 0 300 19501 9
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... the role played by ‘non-elite material culture’ in ‘the construction of status and identity’. Their language is different, and so is their subject matter, but their approach resembles that of MarkGirouard thirty years ago in Life in the English Country House. The book’s splendid illustrations make it a pleasure to turn the pages, but the text itself is uningratiatingly printed in smallish ...

Rodinsky’s Place

Patrick Wright

29 October 1987
White Chappell: Scarlet Tracings 
by Iain Sinclair.
Goldmark, 210 pp., £12.50, October 1987, 1 870507 00 2
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... face among them) gathered at Truman’s Brick Lane brewery to celebrate the organisation which had, in the words of its current chairman (Francis Carnwarth, the personable banker who took over from MarkGirouard), ‘saved 18th-century Spitalfields’. There were warm memories from the early days of art-historical activism: the squats and sit-ins which the Trust’s members undertook as they ...

Perpetual Sunshine

David Cannadine

2 July 1981
The Gentleman’s Country House and its Plan, 1835-1914 
by Jill Franklin.
Routledge, 279 pp., £15.95, February 1981, 0 7100 0622 5
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... which puts Churchill’s Mrs Everest firmly in her place), and Merlin Waterson’s account of Erdigg, which tells the entire story of a country house from the servants’ standpoint. Above stairs, MarkGirouard’s sumptuous study of The Victorian Country House looked in detail at their architecture and their owners; and more recently, in his much-acclaimed Life in the English Country House, he ...

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