A Country Life

A Country Life

by RoyStrong (Author), JuliaTrevelyanOman (Illustrator)


In 1987 Roy Strong was asked to write an occasional column reflecting his quintessentially English way of life. "A Country Life" brings these pieces together, portraying the passing of the seasons in what the author describes as his "beloved adopted county" of Herefordshire. It is a wide-ranging kaleidoscope of memories and observations, embracing the countryside, gardens, cooking and remembrances of things both long gone and only yesterday. Strong writes lyrically of the arrival of the bright green tarragon shoots in spring; of the delights of eating al fresco; of making sorbets from medlar, blackberry and quince; and of the russet beech hedges in winter. Quinquagesima sees the arrival of Lent lilies; a bad winter is signalled by frantic bee activity among the drones; and Christmas brings a winding down before the New Year. This is a portrait of life in the English countryside which seems as old as time itself.


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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
Edition: New edition
Publisher: Bantam Books
Published: 01 May 2002

ISBN 10: 0553814257
ISBN 13: 9780553814255
Book Overview: At home in the English countryside.

Media Reviews
Like him or loathe him, Roy Strong has a natural talent for writing witty prose and never more so than in this charming little book. Centering on his abiding passion for gardening the ex-director of the National Portrait Gallery and the V A displays his dry wit interlaced with intellectual asides. He and his wife, designer Julia Trevelyan Oman, have lived at their Hertfordshire home, The Laskett, for nearly thirty years, creating what is believed to be the largest private formal garden in the UK since 1945. Pretentious in many ways, Strong is the opposite at home in his garden as this collection of snippets shows. Taken from his occasional column in Country Life magazine, this is a fascinating insight into his garden's development and his thoughts on all things horticultural. Accompanied by the charming black and white illustrations of his wife, he travels through the seasons of his garden offering advice, thoughts and witty asides. From medieval dung, itinerant pedlars and misplaced tulips, all are given his tongue-in-cheek, often caustic, observations. Not just confined to Hertfordshire but including reminiscences of visits elsewhere, he takes the reader to the Isle of Wight, London and Italy amongst others, recounting his perceptions in typically droll fashion. A book to keep by the bedside, to dip into at will, any random selection sure to amuse and send one to sleep with a half-smile on one's face. - Lucy Watson
Author Bio
SIR ROY STRONG is well-known as an historian and garden writer, lecturer, critic, columnist and regular contributor to both radio and television. He was Director of the National Portrait Gallery from 1967-73 and of the V&A from 1974-87. In 1980 he was awarded the prestigious Shakespeare Prize by the FVS Foundation of Hamburg in recognition of his contribution to the arts in the UK. Among the public committees on which he has served are the Arts Council (as Chairman of the Art department) and the South Bank Board (as Deputy Chairman), and in 2000 he became High Bailiff and Searcher of the Sanctuary of Westminster Abbey and President of the Garden History Society. His gardening books include A Celebration of Gardening, Creating Small Gardens, A Small Garden Designer's Handbook, Creating Small Formal Gardens, Small Period Gardens, Royal Gardens, Garden Party, The Artist and the Garden and Ornament in the Small Garden. Other recent publications are The Story of Britain, his own diaries and The Spirit of Britain. He and his wife, the film, television and theatre designer Julia Trevelyan Oman, live in Hereford, where they have planted what is thought to be the largest private formal garden in the UK since 1945.