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Remaking the Space: the Plan and the Route in Country-House Guidebooks from 1770 to 1815

Remaking the Space: the Plan and the Route in Country-House Guidebooks from 1770 to 1815 In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, country-house tourism became increasingly popular in England. By 1770, hundreds of tourists were visiting the country’s greatest estates every summer. The nature of the attraction varied from house to house. Some, such as Kedleston Hall and Stowe, were considered ‘elegant’ modern buildings, while others, such as Blenheim Palace, were already seen as historical sites. Although country-house visiting as a concept dated back to the seventeenth century, there had never been so many tourists, nor such a variety of them. While one needed to be relatively wealthy and genteel in order to travel and gain admission to great houses, tourists included not only those who had their own estates but also those who could only be spectators. Early country-house tourists have been examined by a number of historians, but the ways in which the houses themselves were presented have hitherto been little studied. A better understanding of this manner of presentation illuminates the nature of tourists’ experiences and how the country house itself began to be identified as an attraction during this period. In essence, in an effort to cope with the influx of visitors, country-house owners began to formalize the terms under which their estates were open to the public. As part of this process, houses were metaphorically ‘remade’ in order to function as tourist attractions as well as private residences. It was not enough for owners simply to allow entry. They had to decide what would be shown to visitors, and how to provide visitors with information about the house and its contents. At first, these problems were solved by instructing housekeepers to guide visitors, but, as certain houses became exceptionally popular, a new practice developed: publishing guidebooks. This article considers the methodologies by which the interior spaces of country houses were remade in guidebooks (a type of re-presentation that can still be observed in many properties that are open to the public today), as well as the effects of this process. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architectural History Cambridge University Press

Remaking the Space: the Plan and the Route in Country-House Guidebooks from 1770 to 1815

Architectural History , Volume 54: 18 – Apr 11, 2016

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Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain 2011
ISSN
2059-5670
eISSN
0066-622X
DOI
10.1017/S0066622X00004044
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, country-house tourism became increasingly popular in England. By 1770, hundreds of tourists were visiting the country’s greatest estates every summer. The nature of the attraction varied from house to house. Some, such as Kedleston Hall and Stowe, were considered ‘elegant’ modern buildings, while others, such as Blenheim Palace, were already seen as historical sites. Although country-house visiting as a concept dated back to the seventeenth century, there had never been so many tourists, nor such a variety of them. While one needed to be relatively wealthy and genteel in order to travel and gain admission to great houses, tourists included not only those who had their own estates but also those who could only be spectators. Early country-house tourists have been examined by a number of historians, but the ways in which the houses themselves were presented have hitherto been little studied. A better understanding of this manner of presentation illuminates the nature of tourists’ experiences and how the country house itself began to be identified as an attraction during this period. In essence, in an effort to cope with the influx of visitors, country-house owners began to formalize the terms under which their estates were open to the public. As part of this process, houses were metaphorically ‘remade’ in order to function as tourist attractions as well as private residences. It was not enough for owners simply to allow entry. They had to decide what would be shown to visitors, and how to provide visitors with information about the house and its contents. At first, these problems were solved by instructing housekeepers to guide visitors, but, as certain houses became exceptionally popular, a new practice developed: publishing guidebooks. This article considers the methodologies by which the interior spaces of country houses were remade in guidebooks (a type of re-presentation that can still be observed in many properties that are open to the public today), as well as the effects of this process.

Journal

Architectural HistoryCambridge University Press

Published: Apr 11, 2016

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