The Destruction of the Country House 1875-1975

The Destruction of the Country House 1875-1975
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Roy Strong, Marcus Binney & John Harris.

London. Thames and Hudson. 1974. First edition. Brown cloth-bound hardback, dust jacket. 192 pages. 383 b&w illustrations. 260 x 210mm (10 x 8"). .95kg. 0500240949. English. Near fine; some offsetting of jacket to endpapers, light shelf wear to jacket with light browning, slight wear to forecorners and head and base of spine, short 2cm tear to lower edge of rear jacket; a very good copy, not price-clipped, no inscriptions.

A scarce copy of the hardback edition of this groundbreaking book on the destruction of country houses in Britain. The book was published concurrently with the exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. It acted as a call-to-arms to stop the demolition of stately homes that had started in the 19th century and which gathered momentum after the two World Wars when the upkeep of these houses became too expensive and impractical. The campaign garnered much coverage and achieved much success in its aims.

'The first section spells out the story of loss. Over 300 demolished houses are illustrated in unique historic photographs (a small proportion: a more detailed list at the end of the book extends to over three times that number), many of them buildings of outstanding beauty and interest. The great parks, equally irreplaceable, have usually disappeared even more completely. The contents of the houses - the pictures, furniture, books and archives - have been dispersed, losing much of their original significance. In the second part seven owners of country houses describe their very real struggles to keep going, struggles which are ultimately not only for themselves but for us and for posterity as well. The third part reviews possible solutions to the problem - legal sanctions, The National Trust and Government aid.' (from the blurb).