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Classical Buildings of Wiltshire & Bath

Richard Durman

Jacketed Hardback; 208 pages; 190 b/w photos; 2 maps

Wiltshire is a very special county for anyone interested in that refined style of classicism that we call Palladian. The 18th-century revival of Palladianism coincided with the rapid rise of Bath to the heights of fame and fashion, and it is not surprising that the majority of its buildings are Palladian. Between them, Wiltshire and Bath amassed the finest range of such buildings in England.

This book is intended to be a guide to such buildings but it requires no technical knowledge to unlock its secrets. There are grand country houses, such as Bowood, Stourhead and Wilton; the urban delights of Salisbury and Bath; the less well-known but equally charming townscapes of Bradford on Avon, Chippenham, Devizes, Marlborough, Trowbridge and Warminster; and the more elusive beauties scattered around the Wiltshire countryside.

Palladian Bridges

Tim Mowl

Paperback; 40 pages; 4 colour & 27 b/w photos

The most striking feature of the Prior Park landscape, now in the keeping of The National Trust, is undoubtedly the Palladian Bridge. This book places that bridge in its contemporary architectural and political context. The development of the Palladian style is traced from Palladio's own drawings to Wilton, Blenheim, Stowe and Tsarskoe Selo, Catherine the Great's park in St Petersburg. But the manoeuvrings of the 'boy patriots', that gang of dissident, 18th-century Whig politicians, and in particular William Pitt the Elder, are also explored to provide the reason for Ralph Allen building his own bridge at Prior Park.

Thomas Barker of Bath: the Artist and his Circle

Tim Mowl

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This is the first full-length biography of one of the 18th-century's most gifted artists. Described in his lifetime as 'a Man of great Genius' his work was compared with that of Gainsborough. His popularity ensured that for many years his paintings fetched equally high prices and were bought for all the great collections of his day. Thomas Barker was an enigma. Extolled by Roger Fry as 'one of the most original Colourists of the British School', he was also among the first artists in the country to experiment with lithography and may be said to have revived the art of fresco painting, producing the first fresco in England for some 300 years. And yet he never quite achieved the eminence or distinction expected of him. His best paintings stand comparison with those of his contemporaries such as Gainsborough or Thomas Lawrence, but when he died he was nearly forgotten and virtually bankrupt.

Here is the intriguing story of Thomas Barker's artistic education under the strict tutelage of his patron, Charles Spackman, with endless hours spent copying Old Masters; of three years studying in Italy; of the opening of the first provincial gallery dedicated to the work of a single artist; of his attempt to break into London artistic society; and of his years of fame and ultimate decline in Bath. His family, too, play their part - his father, two of his brothers and three of his sons all made their careers as painters, with his brother Benjamin and his son Thomas Jones being particularly notable. The 58 illustrations, most in colour, enhance this fascinating account of a remarkable dynasty.

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