David Watkin

Design for Living

The English House


Frances Lincoln 3 vols £125 order from our bookshop

This monumental book, originally published as Das englische Haus (3 vols, 1904–5), with over 680 plates ranging from Hatfield House to a modern soap dish, is familiar to historians of architecture, who have tended to refer to it rather than read it. However, it deserves to be known to a wider audience as an important if rather unexpected product of the envy of England which was a feature of the Germany of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This was normally expressed in the attempt to catch up with British industrial, commercial and naval supremacy, but the detailed study of English domestic architecture by the architect Hermann Muthesius represents a more attractive cultural admiration. It was not only an immense but valuable undertaking to translate this massive work for the first time in its entirety; but it is also published in such an elegant style that its price makes it something of a bargain. It will surely become a ‘collector’s item’.

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