Book number: 91939 Product format: Hardback Author: SIMON THURLEY

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Bibliophile price £7.00
Published price £25

A leading historian of English architecture, Simon Thurley was Chief Executive of English Heritage for 13 years and responsible for 420 sites and monuments including Stonehenge and has been director of the Museum of London and the Curator of Historic Royal Palaces. Life in the court of the House of Stuart has been shrouded in mystery. The first half of the century was overshadowed by the fall and execution of Charles I and the second half in the complete collapse of the House itself. Lost is the extraordinary contribution the Stuarts made to the fabric of sovereignty. When James I of England ascended the throne in 1603 he inherited an estate of dilapidated palaces, many barely renewed since the start of the reign of Henry VIII nearly 100 years before. The Stuarts would be in power for only 111 years, but in that short time they were to bring transformational change to the palaces and their contents, becoming the greatest builders and collectors of art of any Royal House. Every palace they built, painting they commissioned, or artwork they acquired was a direct reflection of the lives they led and the way they thought. We are taken from Royston and Newmarket where James I appropriated most of the town centre as a sort of rough-and-ready royal housing estate, to the steamy Turkish baths at Whitehall where Charles II seduced his mistresses. Hampton Court, Whitehall, Somerset House, Windsor Castle, Oatlands, St James's, Greenwich, Newmarket and Winchester, here are capital improvements, dignity and order, and of course the Civil War, republican residences, the court in exile, the Restoration and much domesticity and splendour in this celebration of the magnificence of sovereignty. It is in all a thrilling new history of the Stuart monarchy told through their palaces by one of the best architectural historians alive in the world, 'an impressive book - for its scholarship, for its easy didacticism.' - The Sunday Times. We also greatly admire in this heavyweight hardback how many colour plates, architectural drawings, woodcuts, maps and illustrations have been included. 543pp. Colour.

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ISBN 9780008389963

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