Design and Plan in the Country House From Castle Donjons to Palladian Boxes Andor Gomme, Alison Maguire

Publication date:
24 Jun 2008
Paul Mellon Centre
352 pages: 279 x 229mm
200 b-w + 80 color illus., 250 plans
Sales territories:


The way a man thinks about his day-to-day living and the needs of his household reveals a great deal about his ambitions, his idea of himself, and his role in the community. And his house or castle offers many clues to his habits as well as those of the members of his household. This intriguing book explores the evolution of country house plans throughout Britain and Ireland, from medieval times to the eighteenth century. With photographs and detailed architectural plans of each house under discussion, the book presents a whole range of new insights into how these homes were designed and what their varied designs tell us about the lives of their residents.


Starting with fortified medieval tower houses, the book traces patterns that developed and sometimes repeated in country house design over the centuries. It discusses who slept in the bedchambers, where food was prepared, how rooms were arranged for official and private activities, what towers signified, and more. Groundbreaking in its depth, the volume offers a rare tour of country houses for scholar and general reader alike.



Andor Gomme is Emeritus Professor of English Literature and Architectural History, Keele University, and former chairman of the Architectural History Society of Great Britain. Alison Maguire is an independent architectural historian.

"A deeply researched . . . examination of British house design and function form the Middle Ages through the early 18th century. . . . This work is a significant addition to the literature on British domestic architecture. . . . Highly recommended."Choice

“Highly recommended . . . groundbreaking in its depth . . . a rare tour of country houses for scholar and general reader alike.”—Manner of Man magazine