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Nancy Lancaster: English Country House Style

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2011

    I Highly Recommend This Book!

    This book interested me in a variety of ways. Not only because I love English homes and gardens but also for the fascinating lifestyle Nancy Lancaster led. She is one of those rare individuals who make living a life filled with richness seem simple. This book is now among my very favorites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2006

    Adrift in the Cozy, Comfortable, Tasteful English Tradition!

    Martin Wood is an excellent biographer and chronicler of style and in this richly illustrated monograph on Nancy Lancaster he makes use of his own credentials as a garden designer and interior designer to praise the virtues of a lady few of us know. Nancy Lancaster gained her reputation as a gardener and designer of gardens whose only clear rival has been Gertrude Jekyll. But Martin Wood increases her stature by naming her the creator of the English country house style. His writing style is fluid, humorous, tender and informative, giving all the biographical data about Lancaster's heritage, youth, and life in a manner that makes what seems to be a picture essay become a page-turner novel! Lancaster devoted herself to recreating the English Country atmosphere, though she was a born and bred American. Her own various homes as well as those of people who engaged her expertise demonstrate how even the most modest dwelling can breed the charm of the English Country house. Her gardens are like dream sequences out of Arthur Rackham and her taste in balancing room space with the gracious furniture and window treatments and light is impeccable. The Book is filled with some very lush photography that takes the time to scrutinize her concepts as well as pleasure the eye over her accomplishments. This is far more than a design book. This is a book about a life and how it extended into creating a personal world of quiet dignity and beauty. Grady Harp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2005


    Seldom has a volume contained such a plethora of beauty as does 'Nancy Lancaster: English Country House Style.' Author Martin Wood, a textile and garden designer and interior decorator, has paid a tribute to Lancaster that is as handsome as the subject herself. With 208 pages and over 200 illustrations he charts the course which resulted in her creation of the style known as English country house as well as her purchase of the prestigious British design firm Colefax and Fowler. Born into an influential Virginia family in a cottage on her grandfather's estate in 1897, Lancaster never forgot that estate, Mirador, nor her southern roots. Her first marriage was to Henry Field, grandson of Marshall Field. What should have been an idyllic pairing ended far too soon when he died of blood poisoning at the age of 22. His death affected Lancaster greatly, and she suffered from periods of depression throughout her life. Her original dream was to transform Mirador, which she did magnificently by turning a narrow hallway into a breathtaking rotunda and transforming what had once been a first floor guest room into an expansive drawing room. She searched for old chintzes to use throughout, which gave the mansion a stately lived in look. As she was to say, 'Understatement is extremely important and crossing too many t's and dotting too many i's make a room look overdone and tiresome.' This was to be her stylistic credo throughout her life. Lancaster's future, including the acquisition of Colefax and Fowler, would find her creating designs for her homes and gardens in England - Kelmarsh Hall, Ditchley Park and Haseley Court. Martin Wood more than ably presents the life and style of this remarkably creative woman, while the archival photographs by such artists as Cecil Beaton and Horst P. Horst are sheer delight. - Gail Cooke

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