The Country House: Material Culture and Consumption.pdf
This book presents a series of conference papers which explored a topic that has received a good deal of interest in recent years, namely the material culture of the country house and its presentation to the public. This links in with academic interest in the consumption practices of the elite, and in the country house as a lived and living space, which was consciously transformed according to fashion and personal taste; but also ties in well with our concern as curators to present a coherent narrative of English Heritage and other properties and their contents to the modern visitor. The proceedings address a number of current academic debates about elite consumption practices, and the role of landed society as arbiters of taste. By looking at the country house as lived space many of the papers throw up interesting questions about the accumulation and arrangement of objects; the way in which rooms were used and experienced by both owners and visitors, and how this sense of 'living history' can be presented meaningfully to the public. The conference was international in scope, so the experience in the United Kingdom can be compared with that in other European countries, throwing new light on our understanding of consumption and the country house.
Properties Historians' Team Leader, English Heritage Professor of History, University of Northampton