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Twentieth Century Castles in Britain
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Twentieth Century Castles in Britain

by Amicia de Moubray
 

The unforgettable silhouette of Eilean Donan Castle at the confluence of three sea lochs in the Highlands, seen against the majestic backdrop of the mountains of Kintail, is an iconic image of Scotland and of Scottish history that adorns calendars, shortbread tins and whisky bottles worldwide. Not many people realise that the castle was only built in 1932. Along

Overview

The unforgettable silhouette of Eilean Donan Castle at the confluence of three sea lochs in the Highlands, seen against the majestic backdrop of the mountains of Kintail, is an iconic image of Scotland and of Scottish history that adorns calendars, shortbread tins and whisky bottles worldwide. Not many people realise that the castle was only built in 1932. Along with Lutyens’s slightly better known Lindisfarne of 1906, and Castle Drogo of 1930, it represents the astonishing survival of a nostalgia for the middle ages well into our own lifetimes. This book is the first to investigate and illustrate the phenomenon.

These castles were not only (relatively) modest country houses in remote and rugged areas, but some were also colossal and fabulously expensive re-creations of complete medieval complexes like Herstmonceux, Leeds, Hever, Saltwood and Allington in Kent and Sussex, specifically chosen for their proximity and ease of commuting access to London. And beyond the conventional extravagance of the millionaire (often spending the money of his American wife) there were the demented fantasies of the likes of William Randolph Hearst whose St Donat’s in Wales boasted thirty bathrooms and a swimming pool with underwater lighting, and Gordon Selfridge’s Hengistbury with its proposed 300 bedroom suites and a tower as high as St Paul’s.

Amid all these extraordinary fantasies, and the almost equally extraordinary stories associated with them, however, is a more serious narrative about the conservation and restoration of historic monuments. And, at the end of the twentieth century, when the conservation battles have been more or less resolved, again there is an almost incredible resurgence of neo-medievalism with brand-new castles being built in England, Scotland and Wales, often against substantial opposition, but undoubtedly resulting in remarkable and impressive structures. This book tells their story.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘You’ll find more reasons to love castles if you turn to the lavish pages of Twentieth Century Castles in Britain. I am of an age and disposition when a newsagent’s top shelf is of only passing interest, but well-produced books on architecture and interior design, historic buildings and grand landscapes are guaranteed to get my pulse racing... There is plenty here to fuel the imagination of anyone who would be master or mistress of a castle.’ 

'An entertaining and instructive survey.'

'You'll find more reasons to love castles if you turn to the lavish pages of Twentieth Century Castles in Britain. I am of an age and disposition when a newsagent's top shelf is of only passing interest, but well-produced books on architecture and interior design, historic buildings and grand landscapes are guaranteed to get my pulse racing... There is plenty here to fuel the imagination of anyone who would be master or mistress of a castle.'

'The author has uncovered a seam of architecture that speaks to a deep need in the human spirit.'

5 stars:'Full of stunningly beautiful colour photographs that will inspire plans for weekend visits to these incredible buildings.'

'The pieced together stories throw up little gems.'

'frisky, sun-lit tome celebrating the reinvention and revival of the British castle over the past hundred years.'

'An enjoyable account of a much overlooked subject. This lavishly illustrated book embraces the stories both of castles which were either built anew or ancient and revived as habitable country houses to a degree they can be thought of as 20th-century castles.'

'Adds to the library of literature on castles, expanding our general knowledge of both modern and restored castles and teoir owners and architects, and will be of interest to the thousands of dreamers and schemers who think that one day, maybe one day, they might just call one their own.'

'An enjoyable account of a much overlooked subject. This lavishly illustrated book embraces the stories both of castles which were either built anew or ancient and revived as habitable country houses to a degree they can be thought of as 20th-century castles.'

'Adds to the library of literature on castles, expanding our general knowledge of both modern and restored castles and teoir owners and architects, and will be of interest to the thousands of dreamers and schemers who think that one day, maybe one day, they might just call one their own.'

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780711231788
Publisher:
Lincoln, Frances Limited
Publication date:
03/01/2013
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 11.80(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Amicia de Moubray is a journalist and editor specialising in architecture, heritage and interiors.

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