December's Book of The Month
A delightful journey through the glamorous story of English country house party by the bestselling historian.
Croquet. Parlour games. Cocktails. The English country house conjures up images of decadence that reach their glamorous climax at the mere mention of a house party. Welcome to a glorious journey through the golden age of country house festivities - and you're invited.
Our host, celebrated historian Adrian Tinniswood, traces the evolution of the British house party from the debauched royal tours of Queen Victoria's son to the flamboyant excess of the Bright Young Things. With cameos from the Jazz Age industrialist, the bibulous earl, and the off-duty politician - whether in moated manor houses or ornate Palladian villas - Tinniswood gives a vivid insight into the intricacies of weekend etiquette, and reveals the hidden lives of celebrity guestsand societies in all their drinking, feasting, dressing, gambling, and fornicating. We peek inside long corridors to spy on the era's great and good partying at mansions like Knole and Dunham Massey; join Nancy Astor holding court at Cliveden; and accompany Winston Churchill on a discreet gathering around the swimming pool at Chartwell.
The result is a deliciously entertaining, star-studded, yet surprisingly moving portrait of a time when social conventions were being radically overhauled through the escapism of a generation haunted by war - and a uniquely fast-living period of English history.
“Packed full of fascinating details about food, drink and affairs of the heart, this jaunty little book heads to the countryside in the demanding company of kings and queens, aristocrats and wealthy guests who were lavishly entertained in their friends’ country houses.” Josh Smith, Sunday Express
'Rife with shareable anecdotes . . . a rich eulogy . . . It makes a perfect host’s gift.' Financial Times
About the Author:
Adrian Tinniswood is the bestselling author of fifteen books of social and architectural history.
A senior Research Fellow at University of Buckingham and a Visiting Fellow in Heritage and History at Bath Spa University, he worked for and with the National Trust for more than thirty years.
In 2013 he was awarded an OBE for services to heritage.
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