Elizabethan Architecture


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Mark Girouard

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Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture— the uniquely strange and exciting buildings built by the great and powerful, ranging from huge houses to gem-like pavilions and lodges designed for feasting and hunting—is a phenomenon as remarkable as the literature that accompanied it, the literature of Shakespeare, Spenser, Sidney, Marlow, and others.

In this beautiful and fascinating book, Mark Girouard discusses social structure and the way of life behind it, the evolution of the house plan, the excitement of English patrons and craftsmen as they learned not only about the classic Five Orders and the buildings of Ancient Rome, the surprising wealth of architectural drawings that survive from the period, the inroads of foreign craftsmen who brought new fashions in ornament, but also the strength of the native tradition that was creatively integrated with the “antique” style. Behind the book is a vivid consciousness of the European scene: Italy, France, central Europe and above all the Low Countries and their influence on England. But the principal argument of the book is the unique individuality of the English achievement.

The result of new research and fieldwork, as well as a lifetime’s observation and scholarship, this remarkable book displays Girouard’s unique sense of style and his enduring excitement for the architecture of the period.

Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Freelance architectural historian and writer, and identified in many minds with the best writing and scholarship on Egnlish architecture. Author of numerous Yale books.

"This is a book as luscious and as awe-inspiring as its subject."—Timothy Brittain-Catlin, World of Interiors

‘For me, this is the book of the year. The author’s deep insights and enormous knowledge are matched only by his wonderfully easy style and lavish illustrations. A magnificent climax to a life’s work.’ — Nicholas Cooper, Country Life

‘Twenty years is a long time to wait for a book this good. Mr Girouard has poured love and knowledge into an important and gripping account of top-end Elizabethan houses…fascinating.’ — Phillippa Stockley, Country Life

‘No greater tribute to the most glorious age of English architecture has been compiled than Mark Girouard’s lavish 500-page survey of the wonders of the Elizabethan age…This is the work of a lifetime or scholarship.’ — Marcus Binney, The Times

‘[Girouard] writes about the most bizarre and thrilling works of an extravagant era…Read this book.’ — Lucy Worsley, Cornerstone

‘[A] beautiful and fascinating book…The result of new research and fieldwork, as well as a lifetime’s observation and scholarship, this remarkable book displays Girouard’s unique sense of style and his enduring excitement for the architecture of the period.’ — Listed Heritage Magazine

‘[Girouard] returns to his first love and still writes like an angel….This sensationally illustrated book proves that England’s fantasy palaces and poetically spatial lodges were Renaissance achievements to rival Italy’s.’ — Times Higher Education Supplement


“If you are interested in high Elizabethan–style country houses, this is the book for you.”--Library Journal

“This erudite, heavily illustrated, riveting book is packed with wonder and interest.” — Phillippa Stockley, Sunday Telegraph

‘This encyclopaedic, well illustrated tome chronicles the flowering of architecture in the Elizabethan age.’ — SG, RA Magazine

‘Up to date, opinionated and brilliantly written. No one knows more about the subject than Girouard…His text is accessible to the non-specialist, exhilarating in its grasp of detail, sweeping in its range, lucid in explication. It is a pleasure to read…Girouard has composed this remarkable book in which the high-Elizabethan spirit lives again, adventurous, strange, outrageous and beautiful.' — Duncan Wu, Times Higher Education

‘This is a rich, scholarly and sometimes poetic book, written, like everything else Girouard publishes, in a captivating, enthusiastic style. Its arrival is an important event; no one will be disappointed…A more entrancing or better illustrated book on this subject is unimaginable.' — Boaz Ben Manasseh, The Architectural Review

‘Mark Girouard, who knows more than anyone about Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture, has at last produced his long awaited overview of the subject, and the wait was well worthwhile…Elizabethan Architecture is, as ever, beautifully written and immensely readable…An absolutely essential acquisition for anyone with the slightest interest in this prodigally rich era.’ — Roger White, Historic House

‘For the newcomer this book is visually stunning, while for the scholars Girouard’s reputation goes before him and they will not be disappointed.’ —  Maurice Howard, The Art Newspaper

"An appropriately sumptuous book…. Illustrated with excellent photographs…. many original drawings and new plans drawn to the same scale, this lively, readable book will be the definitive work on Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture."—Henry Matthews, The Art Book

"This wondrous book--written by the preeminent historian of British architecture, and beautifully designed and printed. . . combines sweeping range and a precise grasp of detail."--Ben Schwarz, The Atlantic

"Girouard's synthesis of his own previous work and the work of other eminent architectural historians makes the book a very useful reference tool, which is bound to become a key source for students of Elizabethan architecture."—Rebecca Roberts, Cahiers Elisabethains

"As one might well expect from a scholar who has dominated his field for over a half century, [the book] is nothing short of magisterial in its authority and encyclopedic in its range. . . . Between the bookends of the 1540s and 1630s, this full, gloriously illustrated (even by Yale's standards), and extensively documented work simply brims with copious examples of virtually every sort of architectural construct characteristic of the chosen era."—Robert Tittler, Sixteenth Century Journal

“…a splendid and authoritative work…written in a highly readable style…students of northern architecture will learn much from this major work.”—Northern History

Winner of the 2010 Spear's Book Award for Illustrated Book of the Year

Winner of the 2010 Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion, as given by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2010 in the Architecture category

Shortlisted for the 2009 William M.B. Berger Prize for British Art History presented by the Berger Collection Educational Trust and The British Art Journal
ISBN: 9780300093865
Publication Date: December 8, 2009
Publishing Partner: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
400 pages, 10 x 12
150 b/w + 150 color illus.
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A Social and Architectural History

Mark Girouard

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