Country House Collections: Their Lives and Afterlives (2021)

Terence Dooley and Christopher Ridgway (Eds), Country House Collections. Their Lives and Afterlives. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2021, 334pp., hardback, €50.00, ISBN9781846829758.

A pleasure to read – beautiful illustrations, reproductions and photographs. Excellent scholarship but would also serve as a lovely coffee table book. 14 essays in the volume: 6 chapters each on English and Irish topics, and one on country house collecting practice in America and Lithuania. The themes are broadly: ‘Assembling and Dispersing’ and ‘Contexts and Reinterpretations’. Lots to interest social, cultural, art historians of Ireland; much to spark new research projects among the essays.

My challenge to the field is to historicise collections against backdrop beyond Ireland – what of the houses built and filled by the families who amassed a fortune further afield in colonial pursuits and transatlantic slavery? How did this ‘newer’ money impact the country house milieu in Ireland? 

My full review published in Irish Studies Review, 2022, Vol,30 (4), pp.498-9.

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