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Mistress of the House: Great Ladies and Grand Houses
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Mistress of the House: Great Ladies and Grand Houses

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  40 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
In the 18th and 19th centuries, to become Mistress of the House was the natural prospect of women born into Britain’s wealthy aristocratic families. An advantageous marriage would bring with it an important ancestral home—a visible expression of power, prestige, and good taste. Rosemary Baird introduces us to ten of these remarkable women, detailing their accomplishments i ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Phoenix (first published January 2003)
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Kelley
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baird’s Mistress of the House, was a very interesting read that I really enjoyed. She focused on explaining the roles of several English noble women who helped turn their ancestral homes into grand examples of architecture and style during the seventeen to nineteenth centuries. I have read several books about lives of servants of the great homes in Great Britain, so this one was a fascinating view of the ladies of these homes and their roles in helping shape their grand estates. She not only pro ...more
Rebecca
Some interesting women, some interesting houses - which left me wanting to read more about the women, and with too much information on the colours of wallpapers and exactly who designed which table. It could have been more entertaining had there been more illustrations, as a book on a historical subject there were quite a lot of pictures, but as a book on architecture and interior design it was a rather small selection. I know quite a lot of what is described is now lost to us, but still it made ...more
Sunhi
Jun 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This incredible dry book starts off in a fairly interesting manner, detailing how women in years past in England helped build giant homes, decorate them, and create incredible legacies which they'd leave to the family members in their names. The book describes how the legacy of these women would be kept fairly quiet due to their gender and history's general desire to attribute their work and effort to their husbands. It also lists what a rich wife of that time would be expected to do, and what s ...more
Graham
An interesting book with an intriguing premise, but one that's quite difficult to 'get into'. The author selects ten characters from the Georgian era, influential women who were of the best breeding in the land. She then describes, in depth, their loves and lives, using a wealth of primary sources to illustrate her points. That's all there is to it. So this is history on an individual basis that doesn't really have that much to say about the period itself, just the women whom the author is writi ...more
Lucy
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'd been looking forward to reading this book for ages and ages, but was really disappointed. It's really dry, and not at all what I was expecting. It's more a list of items and improvements - I thought it would be more personal, about the women's experiences of being mistress of a big house.

I did enjoy the chapter about Saltram House, mainly because I've been there.
Magid
Dec 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Duchesses
This is a perfectly charming look at the lives and homes of various great English ladies of the 18th century. Although Rosemary Baird doesn't really follow through on her objective, stated in the introduction, to examine how these women managed to become great builders and decorators in spite of the patriarchal, opressive society in which they operated, there are lots of very pretty pictures.
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