Colin Amery

Soaring splendour

The glorious monuments built in India by the Mughal emperors, from Babur in the early 16th century to Bahadur Shah Zafar II in the mid-19th century, have long deserved a comprehensive illustrated survey in one volume. George Michell is the ideal author. He is both a great scholar and a fervent communicator on many aspect

Amazing grace

It was in 1814 that the Benedictine monks arrived in Stratton-on-the-Fosse in Somerset from Douai in Flanders where, in 1606, they had established an exiled, but English, monastic house. They were forced to leave the Continent in 1795 after revolutionary France had declared war on England. They wandered a bit until they finally bought a

Bookends: Bloodbath

It may have been first published in 1973, but reading it again in Persephone Books’ elegant re-print, Adam Fergusson’s The Sack of Bath (£12) remains a real shocker. The fury of his polemic against the powers in Bath that seemed hell-bent on destroying everything except a few grand Georgian set- pieces in that beautiful city

Bookend: Bloodbath

Colin Amery has written the Bookend column in this week’s issue of the Spectator. Here it is for readers of this blog: It may have been first published in 1973, but reading it again in Persephone Books’ elegant re-print, Adam Fergusson’s The Sack of Bath remains a real shocker. The fury of his polemic against

Rather in the lurch

Will it ever end? The romantic interest in the architecture, history and life lived in the country house is as alive today as it was in 1978, when Mark Girouard wrote his seminal Life in the English Country House. There are now some three million members of the National Trust — guardians of the flame

Flights of futuristic fantasy

The Great Court of the British Museum is a good place to start. Norman Foster brought light into the wonderfully elegant and inspiring glazed space at the heart of the museum where there had been nothing but greyness around the domed Reading Room. It also put Lord Foster of Thames Bank OM at the heart

How long have I got?

It was the neon lit windowless corridor in the surgery in Dumfries that did it. It was June 1993 when Maggie Keswick and her husband Charles Jencks heard the prognosis that she had two to three months to live as the breast cancer had spread to her liver and her bones. In fact Maggie was

With a view to impress

It all began at Hardwick Hall. Imagine an impressionable and imaginative young boy staying with his relations, wandering about absorbing the atmosphere of that miraculous survivor of an Elizabethan house. Mark Girouard’s intellectual curiosity about English architectural history was ignited by his childhood experience of living in those extraordinary rooms. He was on the roof

Architect of his own misfortune

Tom Coraghessan Boyle, in some 20 books, has energetically demon- strated his enthusiasm for turning the bio- graphies of figures from early 20th-century American life into quasi-historical fiction. After writing the story of the sex-obsessed researcher Dr Alfred Kinsey and the rare tale of the inventor of the cornflake, Will Keith Kellogg and his health

Differences and similarities

West Workroom towards a new sobriety in architecture theory + practice, by Paolo Conrad-Bercah+w office (including contributions from Daniel Sherer, Pierluigi Panza and George Baird) ‘This is not a book….’ These are the opening words of this initially unfathomable paperback volume of architectural ramblings. It has been assembled as an account of the work of

From pillar to post

The English House: The Story of a Nation at Home, by Clive Aslet Earlier this year a brave publisher republished in two volumes and nearly 800 pages the classic book on English domestic architecture, The English House, by Hermann Muthesius. It had first appeared in German as Das Englische Haus in 1904. Clive Aslet’s new

Back to simplicity

Mlinaric on Decorating, by Mirabel Cecil and David Mlinaric I wish this book weren’t so heavy. It is full of such good things that I wanted to carry it around so that at every spare moment I could have another wallow in David Mlinaric’s beautiful world. In the end I compromised and spent hours with