The value of inventories in charting how houses were arranged, furnished and used is now widely appreciated. Typically, the listings and valuations were occasioned by the death of an owner and the consequent need to deal with testamentary dispositions. That was not always so. The inventory for Castlecomer House, Co. Kilkenny, for example, was drawn up to make a claim following the house's devastation in the 1798 uprising. For the most part, the inventories chosen for this book have never been published before and give new-found insights into the lifestyle and taste of some of the foremost families of the day, living in Ireland. Drawn up swiftly room by room, all the inventories were written by professional appraisers, often in consultation with family members or their stewards. The meticulous recording of the contents of the kitchen and scullery sheds light on life below stairs. Itemized equipment required for the brewery, dairy, stables, garden and farmyard reflects the at times significant scale of the communities the houses supported and alludes to remarkable self-sufficiency at some of the demesnes. Above stairs the inventories chart the evolving collecting habits and tastes of eighteenth-century patrons across Ireland and how the interiors of great town and country houses were arranged or responded to the availability of new materials such as mahogany timber. A comprehensive index facilitates access to the myriad items forming the inventories, while the books listed at three of the houses are tentatively identified in separate appendices. A foreword together with short preambles to the inventories set the households in their historical context. Illustrated with contemporary engravings of the houses and with portraits of the owners of the time, the inventories will appeal to country-house visitors, historians of interiors, patronage, collecting and material culture as well as to scholars, curators, collectors, creative designers, film directors, bibliographers, lexicographers and novelists. The eighteenth century is the period onto which the Knight of Glin directed his penetrating gaze as art historian. The book is dedicated to his memory.
Publisher: John Adamson Publishing Consultants
Number of pages: 424
Dimensions: 273 x 206 mm