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Three Houses

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  99 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Angela Thirkell writes of her late Victorian childhood, in which her memory inhabits the three houses which shaped the sensibility later displayed in her beloved Barsetshire novels. First, there is her maternal grandparents home in Fulham, "The Grange," where her grandfather, the celebrated Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones, set the cultivated tone enjoyed by f ...more
Hardcover, 148 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Moyer Bell (first published 1931)
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Dec 28, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
Childhood memoir of author Angela Thirkell. Read by Sian Thomas.

A fascinating glimpse into life in the 1890s for a child born into an talented and artistic family. Her father was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. Her maternal grandfather was Sir Edward Burne-Jones, a prominent member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and her mother's cousins included Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin.

For me, the most charming story about her grandfather involved his paintings on the whitewashed walls of the nurseries in his country house in Sussex for the pleasure
Dec 26, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An evocative read of a bygone era.
Innocent childhood of the rich!
Lovely memories!
Didn't love the "Three Houses" method of organization, it was clunky and off-putting. Thirkell writes like a dream when she gets on a roll, however, and I'm a fan of Burne-Jones, so all is forgiven. Enjoyed getting an inside view of Angela's grandfather's home - the Morris tapestries and chintzes, the murals - love it. The Pre-Raphaelites' foray into furniture design gets this review from the grandchildren - "They had been designed by my grandfather for the seats of knights at the Round Table in ...more
Feb 19, 2014 Myriadofsins rated it liked it
Picked this up mainly because it was referenced in current texts on Edward Burne-Jones and I thought it would be a nice way to round out my knowledge from a new POV. It is hard to fault the dreamy reminiscing quality of the book as a bit of escapism but the narrative flow could have used more clarification.

It is useful as a snapshot of the life of a female child in that era but some of the class and gender considerations that go unheeded by the narrator may make a modern reader cringe. It was h
Oct 13, 2014 Robin rated it really liked it
Beautiful descriptions of bygone times. I loved this little book of memories!
Carol Weaver
Jul 05, 2014 Carol Weaver rated it liked it
A lovely light evocation of life for the better-off over a century ago. Although, as so often, it makes you rather uncomfortable at the thought of the lovely life lived by a very select few, it is worth reading for the author's family connections with and recollections of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and the very delightful angel at the foot of her bed. And confirmation of a suspicion many of us have long held - the lack of comfort of much Pre-Raphaelite furniture!
Sonia Gensler
Thirkell's gentle recollection of her childhood homes didn't keep my eyes glued to the page til the wee hours, but it was wonderfully sweet. I probably will re-read at some point.
Feb 10, 2013 LDuchess rated it liked it
Recommended to LDuchess by: Iris, Kathy
AT's memoir of her early years (1931). Borrowed from Iris.

Amazing people in her life: Doting grandfather, Edward Burne-Jones, and his friend/frequent visitor, William Morris! (The Millais sometimes visited, too). She spent the summers and holidays at his house in Rottingdean.

"Cousin Ruddy" (Kipling) lived next door and played with the kids, telling them stories.
"Cousin Stan"(ley Baldwin--three-time Prime Minister) married a neighbor's daughter and often brought his whole family there for vacatio
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Nov 26, 2012 Martin rated it liked it
Being a fan of the Pre-Rapahelites, I did enjoy reading the references to Ned Burne-Jones and William Morris but there weren't enough! Much of the book is written about life after the artist's death. Having said that, I live near Rottingdean and know the village well so it was still very interesting reading about life down here on the Sussex coast at the turn of the twentieth century.

Sep 04, 2012 Dorothy rated it really liked it
A darling little book written in 1931 by the prolific Brit Angela Thirkell, She was the granddaughter of artist Edward Coley Burne-Jones, and she writes of her days, as a child, at the end of th 19th century. Just a charming little read if you are looking for a change of pace and a look at how life was lived back then.
Nov 13, 2009 Cera rated it liked it
An elegaic, impressionistic recounting of Thirkell's childhood memories in her own home and in the two homes (one in London, one in the country) of her grandfather Edward Burne-Jones. It is both lovely to read and painfully class-conscious in its mourning for the Good Old Days when people knew their places.
Jan 21, 2015 Jocelyn rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
They say you should write what you know. Angela Thirkell is much better writing about her happy childhood as the adored grandchild of a famous painter (Three Houses) than she is writing novels based on her experience as an unhappy wife (Ankle Deep) and an even unhappier divorcee (O, These Men).
Jane Stewart
Feb 17, 2013 Jane Stewart rated it really liked it
A glimpse of a bygone age, seen through the eyes of the much-loved granddaughter of Burne-Jones. This is not only a thoroughly enjoyable, well-written book containing interesting anecdotes about the pre-Raphaelites, but it also documents parts of London that have since changed for ever.
Oct 26, 2013 Priscilla rated it really liked it
A charming memoir of a late Victorian childhood.
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Angela Margaret Mackail was born on January 30, 1890 at 27 Young Street, Kensington Square, London. Her grandfather was Sir Edward Burne-Jones the pre-Raphaelite painter and partner in the design firm of Morris and Company for whom he designed many stained glass windows - seven of which are in St Margaret's Church in Rottingdean, West Sussex. Her grandmother was Georgiana Macdonald, one of a prec ...more
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“I suppose everybody has a mental picture of the days of the week, some seeing them as a circle, some as an endless line, and others again, for all I know, as triangles and cubes. Mine is a wavy line proceeding to infinity, dipping to Wednesday which is the colour of old silver dark with polishing and rising again to a pale gold Sunday. This day has a feeling in my picture of warmth and light breezes and sunshine and afternoons that stretch to infinity and mornings full of far-off bells.” 7 likes
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