Merry Christmas to you all! I thought a snowy picture most appropriate even if at the moment it’s shaping up to be a warm Christmas rather than a white one.
As always, writing this blog is a pleasure not only for what I learn as I do the research but also from what others are kind enough to share via the comments and email. It shows there really is a huge amount of interest in, and affection for, our country houses and that should never be forgotten. Austerity is always an opportunity for some to make simplistic arguments about ‘big houses’. However, to deride hundreds of years of history, collecting, art, architecture, landscaping and the lives of those who have been involved with these beautiful buildings is the type of short-termism which led to the terrible destruction of the early 20th-century. If you know of a threat to a country house (beyond HS2!) then do let me know.
Again, apologies that I haven’t been able to post as much as I’d like to over the last couple of months but this is still a hobby and the day job can sometimes require temporary priority. The good news is that normal service should be restored in the Spring with more posts on houses in the news exploring the architectural context so often ignored, and wider articles on some lesser known aspects of country houses. Of course, there will hopefully be more on the TV, especially after the success of ‘Downton Abbey’, and I know there are further series of ‘Country House Rescue’ and ‘Restoration’ in the works. A special mention should go to Dan Cruickshank and his ‘Country House Revealed’ series which, for me, was the highlight of the viewing year; superb photography, great commentary and access to some wonderful houses – fingers crossed it’s commissioned again.
Another special mention should go to the other new blogs on other aspects of country houses, some of which have started in the last year:
- HandedOn – highly recommended look at some of the more obscure(d) houses
- British and Irish Stately Homes – a comprehensive and remarkable archive of sightings of country houses. Run by Andrew, a frequent commenter on this blog.
- Country House Reader – an eclectic look at houses, contents and customs
Please do keep emailing and commenting with news and updates – I read them all and try to reply promptly (though forgive me if there is a delay). If you use Twitter, more updates can be found there: @thecountryseat is designed to highlight other country house news which may not warrant a full post here but which are still worth a look (and they also appear on the homepage of the blog in the box top-right).
Once again, thank you for your support and continued interest and I look forward to sharing more about the fascinating architecture of our wonderful and spectacular country houses in 2012.