Country Life


My writing for Country Life began in 1995 and has encompassed many excursions to little known country houses around the British Isles, and in Europe and the United States. In 1998, I took over the role of Architectural Editor, nurturing a weekly programme of features on historic country houses that began in 1897. This also meant that I took a lead role in commissioning special numbers such as Smaller Country Houses, Interior Decoration, Collectors, Architecture and Fine Arts.

I was recruited by Michael Hall (now editor of Apollo) when he took over from Giles Worlsey, and I also worked closely also with John Cornforth. I felt great pride in the connection through John to the work of the great Christopher Hussey, whose widow I visited more than once at the Hussey family home of Scotney Castle.

The main features I contributed in these years include those on the state apartments at Chatsworth, Derbyshire; Owlpen Manor, Daneway Manor, both in Gloucestershire, Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, Leixlip Castle, Abbey Leix and Lyons, in Ireland, and many others.

I also wrote on a host of related subjects to do with collecting, decoration, restoration, furnishing and travel (and other subjects such as London clubs, the restoration of Christ Church, Spitalfields, the history of the wednt house, the history of the pantomime horse). I have also written exhibition previews for CL since 1995, including Pompeo Batoni (National), Lucian Freud (Tate), Gilbert and George (Tate Modern,) Thomas Hope (V and A), William Nicholson (Royal Academy) , William Orpen (Imperial War Museum).

I continue to contribute features to Country Life magazine on country houses, and profile interviews on people from the world of culture: interview subjects have included Gilbert and George, John Ward, Isabel Colegate, Mary Fedden, Neil MacGregor, Mark Jones, Nigel Coates, Daniel Libeskind and Charles Jencks.

Ten of my favourite articles on houses for Country Life

  • State Rooms at Chatsworth, March 22, 2007
  • Daneway, Gloucestershire, September 28, 2006
  • Hamwood, Co Meath, February 23, 2006
  • Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, November 6, 2003
  • Castle Auckland, Co Durham, December 4, 2003
  • Restoration House, Rochester, July 11, 2002
  • Leixlip Castle, Co Dublin, July 19, 2001
  • Stonor, Oxfordshire, April 5, 2001
  • Owlpen Manor, Gloucestershire, Sepetmber 28, 2000
  • Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan, July 8 and July 15, 1999

My upcoming articles are on:
Loudham Hall, Suffolk; Gwydir Castle
The Influence of Famous Ancestors; A Review of An Exhibition on Sir Osbert Sitwell as Patron of the Arts

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