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A Lust For Window Sills

A brilliant, offbeat celebration of the great hodgepodge of British buildings' Thomas Marks, Sunday TelegraphFrom soaring Victorian railway stations to Edwardian terraces, from Perpendicular churches to Strawberry Hill, Britain has an architecture unrivalled in fertility, invention and heart-stopping beauty. And with some very strong feelings about window sills, Harry Mount could not be better qualified to survey it. Meandering through garden suburbs and cathedral closes, discovering Moghul palaces in Gloucestershire and Egyptian sphinxes in Islington, A Lust for Window Sills is rich with anecdote, allusion and such inspired digressions as where to find the ugliest gargoyles and a liquid history of watering holes from gin palaces to the Rovers Return.

Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Abacus (September 20, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0349121060

ISBN-13: 978-0349121062

Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.8 inches

Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces

Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #2,224,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #137 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Home Improvement & Design > Decorating & Design > Windows #807 in Books > Arts & Photography > Architecture > Decoration & Ornament #825 in Books > Arts & Photography > Decorative Arts & Design > Interior & Home Design > Decoration & Ornament

I loved Harry Mount's previous book "How England Made the English", which I found full of interesting stories and little known facts about the history and development of England and its culture. The style was reminiscent of Bill Bryson's writing, blending humour and observation with fact. I couldn't put it down. As I love architecture, I assumed I would really enjoy this new volume on that subject.Unfortunately, I found this book very dry and very cursory on many of the covered topics. The humour just didn't work for me, either. It felt like a different person had written this book. I tried to read the whole but couldn't. Really a disappointment for me.

An entertaining guide to British (mainly southern English) architecture. For those familiar with the rudiments of period: Early English, Decorated, Perpendicular and the main names who have shaped England's architectural heritage (Indigo Jones, Charles Barry, Edwin Lutyens to name but three), this slim volume might represent slim pickings. For the uninitiated however, it is an enjoyable and amusingly written guide to the different styles and features of architecture. Interesting details are aplenty: window sills only came in after the Great Fire of London after the fire had destroyed much of the city by spreading from floor to floor. There is a series of youtube clips presented by Mount on London buildings which give an indication of what his approach is like. Mount also weaves in some nice stories from his own life, such as his country house hating friend who drove from London to Edinburgh deliberately overtaking to conceal brown tourist signs from the view of his culture loving car companion who was itching to locate the turn off to Chatsworth.

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