This book explores Scotland's secluded country houses, its gardens, traditions and culture, revealing an authentic and highly diverse Scottish style. There is a world of difference between a Highland laird's manse and a 17th-century fortified house or a crofter's stone cottage. The full range of these various types of home is shown here: a tiled Edwardian kitchen at Ardkinglas; a bright, richly decorated ceiling inside a thick-walled Jacobean tower house; a wall decorated with fish in a lodge at Camasunary. This welcoming civility is set against the manifold splendours of the landscape, with its windswept hills, craggy coastlines and lakes veiled in mist. Many of the treasures of Scottish life are also explored, in sections on painted ceilings, Romantic painting, Harris Tweed, tartans, pottery, doocots, trout and salmon fishing, deerstalking and grouse shooting. A directory lists houses and gardens open to the public, as well as island fours, inns, hotels and antique shows - even where to buy armour. Scotland has contributed more to world culture than any other country of its size, producing such figures as Robert Burns, Adam Smith, Sir Walter Scott and Thomas Carlyle. Here is ample proof that it also has its own characteristic style to inspire and delight the beholder. Charles Maclean, writer, lives in Argyll. Christopher Simon Sykes is co-author, with Caroline Seebohm, of "English Country" (1987), also available from Thames and Hudson.
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