Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

As coffee table books go, Edwardian Country Life does not disappoint the reader yearning for photos of the English countryside.

Henry Avray Tipping lived for 1855 to 1933. He was a man who was best known as an academic, a writer and a collector. His hobby included visiting the great country houses in the UK and writing about his experiences in Country Life, a magazine of the time. Tipping wrote extensively as an authority on houses, furniture, landscaping, and gardening. He also restored older homes, and bought several estates in Middlesex, Oxfordshire, and Monmothshire.

Edwardian Country Life chronicles the contents of a diary which is a year in Tipping’s life as an Edwardian gentleman. He was born in France to cultured parents and lived in various chateaus during his childhood. His father was an educated man and he was encouraged to study architecture. Tipping’s mother, who was a Quaker, raised four sons with Henry being the youngest. After his other brothers died, he was the sole heir of his parent’s estate.

This book reviews Tipping’s impressions of his life and how he chose to influence others. He is described as the type of man who today would be on the board of directors of major corporations, and in his time he was a member of many local and prominent society organizations. He worked to ensure that people were able to enjoy open air spaces and what we now call “green spaces” in communities around the UK.

Edwardian Country Life is a coffee table hardcover version of the life of Tipping and includes photographs as well as quotes, anecdotes and stories of his life. I especially enjoyed the full color photos of the gardens, landscapes and copies of Tipping’s personal letters. His comprehensive work as a garden designer gained him recognition even after his death. His work at Country Life and his legacy in developing gardens was of enormous influence to other architects, landscapers, and natural designers. Edwardian Country Life is the perfect book for anyone interested in architecture and the history of the region, or anyone wanting to learn more about Tipping and his enduring legacy.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Frances Lincoln. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.