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Treasure Houses of Britain

DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 64.99
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Tour five of England's grandest houses "Richly rewarding" -The Sunday Times (U.K.) Discover the rich history of England's great country homes with intimate visits to Burghley House, Chatsworth, Blenheim Palace, Holkham Hall, and Boughton House, all shot in dazzling high-definition. Accompanied by their present occupants, journalist Selina Scott tours the properties, examining the architectural wonders, paintings, furniture, tapestries, sculptures, and other works of art accumulated over the centuries, including a pietra dura gifted to an English nobleman by the powerful Medici family and the wealth of "England's Versailles." Each of these magnificent houses tells the story of the influential families who lived there, from the Earls of Leicester to Winston Churchill's ancestors. Join Scott as she discovers the astonishing affluence and fascinating stories behind these cherished properties. Explore the parlors, suites, and grounds of homes that are more than simply architectural masterpieces: they're snapshots of the tastes and sensibilities of bygone eras and part of the fabric of the nation's history. Selina Scott has been a respected broadcast journalist in the U.K. for over 30 years. A trailblazing female news presenter, she has hosted television programs at the BBC, ITV, CBS, and NBC and today advocates for causes such as countryside preservation." Special Features: "How We Did It," a behind-the-scenes featurette (22 min.) 12-page viewer's guide with articles on the Grand Tour, the English aristocracy and the fate of country homes, the National Trust, and more Behind the architectural styles. Plus discussion questions and the queen's royal residences at athenalearning.com SDH subtitles

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4.0 out of 5 stars Great filming. Like being there yourself. Sept. 29 2012
Verified Purchase
Perhaps the host isn't as engaging as maybe David Dimbleby, but I really enjoyed this. It is quite thorough, and the scenes of the homes really speak for themselves. It definitely satisfied my Anglophile needs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as visiting England in person--almost April 1 2012
By Harold Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
This is up close and personal looks at the fine art, décor, and antiquities as they meet Baroque architecture, kingly landscapes, and historical dwellings. It an excellent docent narration by Selina Scott, making the education of some of the most elaborate Britain fine homes a pure bit of bliss. Close-ups are almost like holding the items, and helicopter views of the grounds are something only a DVD like this can give you--well, unless you are as rich as the people who built these mansions.

5 delightful homes, one per episode with
SUBTITLES available & "Behind the Architectural Styles" text bonus, plus a 22 min featurette (also with SDH subtitles). And a viewer's guide if you yet want to learn more.

1 BURGHLEY HOUSE: Cecils of Burghley, treasure collections since 1500s & England's most famous Elizabethan house. Sir William Cecil builder/architect. See Antonio Verrio's "A Vision of Hell" (17th cent) & Heaven room (the artist's masterpiece.) Wedding gift from Cosimo di Medici of a marble cabi9net, marble sculptures back to roman art, A Queen Elizabeth I portrait, & Henry VIII portrait (Eliz father) a portrait well known. Capability Brown, architect, rebuilt the roofline and landscape. Victoria (as princess), 1844 as Queen visited. Too much to list.

2 CHATSWORTH: Cavendish (mid 16th) supported Wm III. Capability Brown's landscape lives on here as well, with visitors welcome since 18th cent. Louis Laguerre's painted ceiling is unchanged. Suites built for a King went royally unused, but still ready. Verrio joined Laguerre in ceilings, Samuel Watson carved Baroque elaborateness. See works of Van Dyke, Thomas Gainsborough, Reynolds, Architect Wyattville, and a 120 yr perfectly preserved private theatre by Wm Helmsley. A gravity fed fountain, WOW.

3 BLENHEIM PALACE: Winston Churchill's birthplace, built for the man who won the 1704 Battle of Blenheim, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, defeating Louis XIV. English Baroque perfection by Nicholas Hawksmoor and John Vanbrugh. 15 yr and contains Grinling Gibbons carving, Laguerre ceilings, battle tapestries, Capability Brown landscape, and completed with the home's Willis pipe organ, which provides music through the tour.

4 HOLKHAM HALL: Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leichester, took a 6 yr. Grand Tour ending in 1718. Purchases yet hosed at Holkham. A Palladian mansion, Marble Hall of Roman style in alabaster from Derbyshire. Wm Kent orig architect. Saloon filled with Peter Paul Rubens & Anthony Van Dyck. Many secret doors, 25,000 acres, and the Earl's portrait by Gainsborough.
A good companion DVD for this episode is Brian Sewell's Grand Tour of Italy, see where the Earl toured for 6 years since most of his tour was Italy.

5 BOUGHTON HOUSE: English Versailles, Ralph Montague, former Fr. Ambassador, inherited the Northamptonshire house filling it with art & treasures of France. 40, yes I meant to say 40, Anthony Van Dycks. Also Gainsborough and so many more. Wm III would visit in 1694 and nothing has changed sine then. See England's first parquet floor. Large armory too, including an early gatling gun.

History, Fine Arts, Architecture, Travel, Antiques, all reasons for this to be in a home, public, or educational (HS to Univ) library.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing July 5 2012
By Maria Aragon - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I love my old VHS tapes of a previous series about English Houses, which tied in with an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art back in the 80's. I cherish them because they really are well done. This series is flawed though. There were issues with the sound: sometimes the music was drowning out whomever the hostess of the series was interviewing. There were too many repetitive shots of the properties from the outside and not enough focus on the actual treasures the title promotes, unlike the previous series which was all about the artistic wonders stored in those old places, with loving camerawork for the viewer to enjoy. I was also incredibly frustrated at how often the hostess of the series would comment on some portrait or work of art in front of her or behind her without there being a decent close up view of the work of art or portrait. And sometimes the camera angles were illogical, making it hard to see the art being discussed. Very disappointing. I recommend firing up the old VHS player and getting copies of the older series - which I wish they would transfer to DVD!
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars B-O-R-I-N-G June 19 2012
By Austen Hemingway - Published on Amazon.com
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First of all, I'm a real Anglophile and can sit still for endless videos about the Royal Family, Stately Houses, pomp and circumstance of any kind BUT this defeated me. The s-l-o-w progress through the houses, with repeated shots of things already seen, the endless long views of the houses from the air, the stifling commentary of Selina Scott all combine for one long snooze.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It begged that you wanted to see more. Jan. 6 2013
By Ann Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This film , spent time in only one or two rooms of the homes, giving long narratives on the details, and misssing other rooms, few if any views of the gardens or outside. 15 minutes on the foyeer was too much
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the same as the VHS version from the 90s May 24 2013
By Monica S. Swenson - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
It is not as comprehensive as the VHS version that came out in the 90's but it is a very excellent overview of the beautiful historical architecture with a lot of great history education blended in.
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