Great Houses of London

The great houses of London represent one of the marvels of English architecture and yet they are almost entirely unknown. They are for the most part disguised behind sober facades but their riches within are astonishing.

This book will range from the romantic 17th century Ashburnham House, nestling in the shadow of Westminster Abbey, through the splendid 18th century aristocratic palaces of the West End, to the curious and quirky arts and crafts houses of Holland Park and Kensington, to the cool modernist houses of Hampstead and the exuberant post-modern interiors of the last thirty years.

Every house has its own story to tell. This might be the colourful history of the occupants (such as the Duke of Wellington entertaining ladies at Apsley House), the great art collections they held (the Titians at Bridgewater House or Sam Courtauld’s Impressionist paintings at Home House), or the architectural wonders of William Kent’s 44 Berkeley Square and Burges’s Tower House in Melbury Road. The book promises to be a great revelation.


GREAT HOUSES OF LONDON was published on 4th October 2012 by Frances Lincoln.


‘This is a truly magnificent book. The wonderful text tells the story of the architects, owners and occupants, restoration, adaptation and change. And the photographs are exceptional.’
– Good Book Guide

‘A treasure … best of all are the authors personal asides on builders and those who inspired them’
– Economist

‘Stourton writes elegantly and absorbingly about both architects and owners’
– The Times

‘the deft weaving of architectural, social and contemporary history will reveal unexpected pleasures’
– Art Quarterly

‘Writing in a deceptively simple style, Stourton concentrates on architects and artists, on awners and occupants. Idiosyncratic and amusing, he makes you see everything in a new light’
– The Tablet

‘This magnificent book, with illustrations of breathtaking beauty specially taken by Fritz von der Schulenburg, is the fullest account ever written of its absorbing subject. It will come as a revelation, even to those who think they are familiar with London . . . The book is . . . not only about architecture, but about people, whose social, artistic and political ambitions, and manner of living, are vividly brought to life . . . We are familiar with the depressing list of great houses demolished in the 20th century, from Devonshire House to Londonderry House, but this book can surely cheer us up during the recession with its visions of surviving splendour.’
– Country Life

‘This sumptuously illustrated volume…extends its reach both sociologically and chronologically… James Stourton’s text is very readable, deftly mingling the architectural history and the social, and on the whole reliable, and it is completemented by Fritz von der Schulenburg’s specially taken photographs’
– Historic House

‘This lavishly illustrated compendium suggest that the age of elegance endures’
– Mail on Sunday

‘The true fascination resides in the less well-known interiors’
– RA Magazine