The Country House Past, Present, Future
Great British Houses
With their extraordinary histories, grand architecture and interiors, and sublime landscapes, British country houses have long been a subject of fascination to a wide audience. Jeremy Musson, one of Britain’s leading architectural historians, will draw back the curtain on the story of many of Britain’s finest and most important historic homes to offer a fresh look at their significance and meaning. Since the medieval period, the creation of a country house has been fueled by politics and power, and shaped by money, site, available materials, changing building technologies, and personal ambitions and shifting fashions. The country house had many functions—as places of habitation, entertainment, estate administration, and political status—which were traditionally all folded into one solid and glorious material place.
Using the finest new—and old—photographs, as well paintings, prints and drawings, Mr. Musson will take his audience on a revelatory visual journey through the world of the great house, including many important National Trust properties: Cragside, Kingston Lacy, Blickling Hall, and Bodiam Castle, as well as privately-held houses such as Blenheim Palace, Burghley House and Warwick Castle. He will explore the essential skills necessary to build a country house and the aesthetic prestige embedded in their decoration and furnishing, as well as what their libraries and chapels tell us about changing ideas, and how the country estate was arranged for the pursuit of pleasure. He will also look at the state of the country house today and what the future holds for this iconic feature of British culture.
His lecture coincides with the publication of the book he co-edited with Sir David Cannadine, The Country House: Past, Present, Future: Great Houses of The British Isles, co-sponsored by The Royal Oak Foundation, which includes essays by several leading nationally recognized experts exploring the changing identity of the British country house.
This lecture is generously supported by Chris and Laurie Nielsen.
Thank you to our co-sponsors: Rizzoli, American Friends of Attingham, and The Irish Georgian Society, Inc.