"Nancy Lancaster: Her Life, Her World, Her Art" 1996 BECKER, Robert

BECKER, Robert

[426] pp.

First Edition

Alfred A. Knopf


9 3/8" x 6 1/2"

Great houses, exquisite gardens, a glittering society. This was the world of Nancy Lancaster: aristocrat, a woman of wit and edge whose inborn decorating genius culminated in her creation of the style (chintz, elegance, cozy clutter) that flourishes today as the English Country look. We see her astonishing houses and estates - in Virginia and in England - and watch as she brings them beautifully to life with her maverick eye and exquisite taste. We see her among her family and servants living at Mirador, the idyllic Virginia manor owned by her grandfather Langhorne. And we come to understand how those years so crucially affected her vision of home, of comfort, of style. We watch as Nancy, orphaned at the age of fifteen, is raised by her celebrated aunt Irene Langhorne Gibson, the original Gibson Girl, and becomes a debutante in Richmond, Newport and New York, as well as a member of the first class to be graduated from Foxcroft. We follow her to London to the house of another aunt, Nancy Astor, the first woman to be a member of the House of Commons. We see her in the company of prime ministers and diplomats, developing a flair for decorating and interior design as she watches Lady Astor breathe life into the stolid English interiors of her Buckinghamshire country house, Cliveden. Nancy Lancaster forged a path all her own, becoming, out of her passion of comfort and her desire to recapture the Virginia of her childhood, one of the century's important leaders in interior decoration and design. Her own voice, mingling fluently with the author's, makes us see and feel the beauty she created - in a book that brings alive a vanished world and an irresistible personality.

Nancy Lancaster (1897 – 1994) was a 20th-century tastemaker and the owner of Colefax & Fowler, an influential British decorating firm that codified what is known as the English country house look.

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