I first learnt about Longford Castle and some of its treasures in an article in the 1968 Country Life Annual and have wanted to know more about it ever since. Well now both you and I can find out more in this fascinating book which is both well-written and well-illustrated.
Dating from Elizabethan times the house was acquired by the Bouverie family in 1717 and the story of how they built up the outstanding art collection which consists of Old Masters and family portraits – think Holbein, Claude, Reynolds and Gainsborough – is skilfully interwoven with the tale of the furnishings and decorations of the castle’s rooms which form the backdrop to the paintings. It really is a celebration and a history of this great collection and house and is such a delight. It is a book I will return to time and time again!
The Great and Hidden Splendours of the Sun King’s Palace
Catherine Pégard, Christophe Fouin
Thames & Hudson
Take one look at this book and you will clearly see why Versailles endures and attracts new admirers and visitors every year. From the days of Louis XIV onwards the palace has acted like a magnet to all.
In this sumptuous volume the palace’s official photographers (Christophe Fouin, Thomas Garnier, Christian Milet and Didier Saulnier) take us on a journey, using images from their personal albums, that memorably reveals the place whether it be the Grand Apartments, Chapel, Orangerie or the private rooms of the King and his mistresses. The erudite captions tell of the history and treasures in these rooms and evoke a sense of what Versailles must have been like in the 17th and 18th centuries when the King was in residence.
It is and was a very different world and it is amazing to think that these rooms with their elaborate decoration and furnishings were part of everyday life for their royal inhabitants. Some spaces such as Madame de Pompadour’s “niche” in the Chapel or her maid’s bedroom are small and intimate while others such as the Hercules Salon or the Hall of Mirrors remind you that you are in the palace of a king.
There have been numerous books on Versailles over the years and to my mind this is the best! I shall revisit it frequently and no doubt linger a little over the picture of Madame Victoire’s library – a room I could very happily live in.
How They Decorated: Inspiration from Great Women of the Twentieth Century
Written by P. Gaye Tapp,
Foreword by Charlotte Moss
Congratulations are certainly due to P. Gaye Tapp for this wonderful, well-researched journey into the homes and style of these 20th Century trendsetting icons. One knows from the cover alone – the Harrison Williams depicted in their Syrie Maugham drawing room by Cecil Beaton – that it is going to be special.
The four sections of the book – “The Fashionably Chic”, “The Unconventional Eye”, “In the Grand Manner”, and “Legacy Style” – reveal the differing styles favoured by women such as Evangeline Bruce, Georgia O’ Keeffe, Pauline de Rothschild, Lesley Blanch, Louise de Vilmorin and Babe Paley. Some of them worked with leading decorators, often more than one, while others created their own interior worlds.
The end results, beautifully illustrated here, are rooms and homes that have enduring appeal and may well inspire you to a new look in your own homes. I particularly liked the Evangeline Bruce comment about the paintings and antiques in her homes – “I don’t mind mended things’ – as to me it emphasises her love and appreciation of the fine pieces that adorned her homes. True style!
Imprint: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd
Publisher: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd
This book is far more than just a souvenir of the recent seriously good exhibition at The Wallace Collection which focused on their gilt-bronze as it includes even more of the wonderful bronzes d’ameublement that are an important part of The Wallace’s justly famous collections of French eighteenth-century art.
Dr Jacobsen introduces us to the late 18th century Parisian interiors and the taste for the Antique setting the stage for these superbly designed and executed objects. You will find clocks, firedogs, candelabra, mounted porcelain and even tables – which are then individually discussed in detail. It is beautifully illustrated with a combination of new photography and copies of original designs and proposals for both objects and interiors. The book is a great celebration of 18th century connoisseurship and taste revealing the world of figures such as Marie Antoinette and the comte d’Artois and their circles. It is an absolute must for all interested in the interiors and the ‘douceur de vivre’ of the Ancien Régime.
Introduction by The Right Honourable the Lord Astor of Hever
Text by Curt DiCamillo, Suzanne Tise-Isoré, Alexandra Campbell and Rita Vessichelli Pane Photography by Eric Sander
The Villa Astor has, as the cover illustration suggests, rather a splendid location in the town of Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples. A former American ambassador to Italy William Waldorf Astor (1848-1919) acquired the Villa and its surrounding properties in 1905 and then went on to transform it. He was certainly well practiced in such matters for in the United Kingdom he had an office at 2, Temple Place, and also homes at Hever Castle and Cliveden (he gave the latter to his son as a wedding present in 1906). As well as building up a large collection of classical sculpture at the Villa Astor he also had a Pompeian-style villa built on the east side of the gardens. Following Astor’s death the Italian government stepped in and said the sculpture collections and gardens should be protected and remain part of the villa.
It is a great survival having withstood different owners and World War II – and now following a restoration by the new owners, with the help of the famous French decorator Jacques Garcia. this extensively illustrated book celebrates the Villa in its full glory while telling the tale of its intriguing history. Can’t ask for much more really.
This book is a delight and has wide appeal for devotees of Robert Adam’s architecture and interiors and lovers of London. Written by Dr Frances Sands (Curator of Drawings and Books at Sir John Soane’s Museum) to mark the exhibition held earlier there at the turn of the year it is a very much stand-alone volume too. The starting point is Richard Horwood’s map of London (1792-99) and through this each of Adam’s projects can be discovered. It takes us on a fascinating stroll through the areas of London, both north and south of the river, where Adam worked and reveals that some buildings and interiors survive albeit much altered but certainly more than I had expected while others totally lost. So whether in the comfort of an armchair or in hand while searching the streets where Adam worked it is very much a book to savour and enjoy.
Perhaps not surprisingly this is a world-first exhibition featuring as it does the many uses to which plywood has been put.
Like me, I’m sure you thought it was a twentieth century invention but apparently fragments of layered board have been found in Egyptian tombs – perhaps they thought if the mummies came back to life they might fancy a bit of DIY to amuse themselves – but it really came into its own in the late nineteenth century with the advent of mass production.
Plywood’s ubiquity has been embraced by furniture makers, manufacturers of surfboards and skateboards, designers, architects and engineers and this very interesting exhibition takes visitors through plywood’s many transformations from a cheap product to material prized by mid-century modernists and by today’s flourishing maker movement.