English Country House
English Country Houses and their contents have fascinated generations of architects, collectors, connoisseurs and tourists. The observation recorded in diaries of country house visitors fill libraries throughout the world. The 1986 National Gallery of Art in Washington’s block-buster show, The Treasure Houses of Britain, captivated more than a million museum-goers. It generated renewed interest in all things British, particularly English interiors and gardens in the 1980s.
More recently the BBC/PBS Masterpiece television series, Downton Abbey, bow in its fourth or fifth season (depending on weather you are stateside or “across the pond”), has reignited the passion for English country houses. Cognoscenti have been treated to the fabulous installation at Yale’s Center for British Art of Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill in 2009 (which then moved to V&A in 2010) and Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House. The exhibition is on view at the Fine Arts Museum, Houston through September 21, 2014
While all the renewed interest in English Country Houses makes it an opportune time for our joint exhibition here in Litchfield, it is a subject all three of us are passionate about. For over twenty years, English Country Houses – their architecture, gardens and their collections – have been a leitmotif in the friendship, careers and research of all of us. It is with great pleasure we are collaborating on this selling exhibition. We are sure you will find many outstanding examples of English furniture, paintings and decorative arts in this catalogue.
Andrea S. Keogh
Yew Tree House Antiques