Sir John Vanbrugh

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Storyteller in Stone

Vaughan Hart

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This engaging and beautifully illustrated book looks at the remarkable life and work of Sir John Vanbrugh (1664–1726)—by turns businessman, soldier, playwright, and (despite lacking either training or qualifications) the architect of some of the most important country houses of his era. Architectural historian Vaughan Hart examines Vanbrugh’s surviving, destroyed, and unrealized buildings—among them Castle Howard and Blenheim Palace—outlining the contemporary political and social events that influenced their design and showing how these strikingly original buildings can be interpreted through reference to classical mythology, Renaissance fortifications, and medieval houses.

Vaughan Hart is Professor of the History of Architecture at the University of Bath.

“Hart has examined minutely a mass of material… (for) this intense and earnest book.” - Kerry Downes, Burlington Magazine

“… an expert on building design [Hart] has been able to master primary historical material in order to create a particular thesis about Vanbrugh which is quite different from those of previous biographies … The book is filled with excellent forays into other aspects of Vanbrugh’s work … [and] is handsomely produced.” - John Graham, Catholic Herald

"More than previous writers, Hart stresses the influence of Vanbrugh's career as a dramatist concerned with such things as illusion, melodrama, allusion, and especially symbolism in his work as an architect. His very thorough discussion–richly illustrated by brillant photography, mostly in color–of Vanbrugh's buildings and of related works makes this an important architectural contribution and not just another work of social history. . . .Highly recommended.  Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers."—Choice

"Hart has provided us with a compelling new account of Vanbrugh."—Elizabeth McKellar, Journal of British Studies

Short-listed for the 2008 Sir Banister Fletcher Award presented by the Authors' Club.
ISBN: 9780300119299
Publication Date: September 9, 2008
Publishing Partner: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
256 pages, 8 1/2 x 11
150 b/w + 100 color illus.
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