The BBC has posted a 3.25 minute video about the revival of interest in the English country house. Here’s a link (don’t be alarmed if it opens with an ad). Narrated by art historian Alistair Sooke, it begins with recognition of the dire state of country houses after WWII. At that time many, among them Evelyn Waugh, felt that these structures were doomed to decay and destruction. Sooke credits Waugh with helping to restore interest in country houses and their occupants with his 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited. He also notes the positive impact of the 1981 TV series based on the novel. But already by 1959 when Waugh wrote a new preface for his revised edition of the novel, it was obvious that the country house had survived. Sooke concludes by noting Waugh’s apology in the new preface for some of the gluttony in the 1945 version but says it was the glutinous prose of Waugh which helped to save what he feared would be lost. The video was filmed on the grounds of Castle Howard where both the TV and later theatrical versions were filmed and includes an interview with Nick Howard, the present owner. The video is part of a BBC promotional effort and will play worldwide.
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