Noble Ambitions – The Fall and Rise of the Post-War Country House – Adrian Tinniswood
Rachel Cooke’s review of this book in the Observer said reading it “is rather like leafing through an old leather-bound Smythson address book whose well-connected owner has helpfully added waspish notes, gossip and the odd family tree. In other words, it’s heaven.”
The book begins with the Marquess of Bath, occupant of Longleat, announcing at the village flower show, that he is selling off the village (the residents who are standing in front of him) in order to pay the tax bill that has just landed with him following his father’s death. Tinniswood also details the lives of other nobility and gentry and their attempts to deal with the estates and houses that they occupy.
Alongside those residents of country houses are the newly rich actors and pop stars who are in a position to afford such buildings and then either try, or don’t try, to assimilate with the nobility. Tinniswood’s book is ultimately therefore about class, as well as the owners of these houses he details the party planners, interior decorators and architects who are also involved in the lives of the houses.
Hardback. 416 pages.
18.7cm x 24.1cm x 3.6cm