Lord Michael Pratt is a scholar based in London who specializes in modern European history. His works include Britain’s Greek Empire, a study of Corfu and the Ionian Islands under Venetian and British rule.
Lord Pratt tells the story of the country houses that crown the rolling hills of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, immersing us in the vanished world of these countries' aristocracies.
A comprehensive analysis of where politics, culture, and art merge, The Great Country Houses of the Czech Republic and Slovakia is a captivating read for anyone curious about the history and architecture of these two countries. Gerhard Trumler’s striking photographs allow readers entrance, for example, to the Liechtensteins’ twin chateaux of Valtice and Lednice in the Czech Republic. The lords of these castles established one of the greatest art collections in the world and played a major role in the diplomatic and military lives of the nation; they still remain as the ruling house of the Principality of Liechtenstein.
Pratt’s new chapter speaks of the difficulties of restoration and problems concerning modern-day ownership. Though many estates were lost or damaged during the World Wars, the houses as they stand today—some restored, some languishing in disrepair—present a rich cultural heritage of two fascinating countries.
Hungary houses a superb selection of Europe's finest country homes that were built over the centuries by some of the nation's most distinguished families.
Baroque castles and rococo villas dot Hungary’s countryside and stand as testaments to the wealth and power of this region’s aristocracy. Lord Pratt reveals the histories and treasures of these structures, many of which were inaccessible to the West until this past decade. Setting his discussion of the houses and their patrons against the backdrop of Hungary’s history, Pratt illuminates the manner in which diverse political and cultural influences have molded the architecture of this country’s most illustrious homes. For instance, he recounts how the castle Sárvár evolved from a wooden, fourteenth-century fortress to a splendid piece of Renaissance architecture under the noble Nádasdy’s family guidance. In a new, final chapter, Pratt laments the demise of the great home Fót while praising the skillful restoration of Seregélyes.
The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland
Largely neglected and unknown, the palaces, villas, and castles of Central Europe are revealed in the revised edition of this dazzling history.
In the heart of Central Europe stand some of the most elegant and grandly conceived country houses ever constructed, from medieval fortresses and Renaissance- era estates to baroque villas and neoclassical palaces. Until the last decade these illustrious residences were inaccessible to the West. This landmark volume presents these rarely seen treasures of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland, nations that shelter a superb selection of Europe’s finest country houses, built over the centuries by some of the continent’s most distinguished families. Richly illustrated with specially commissioned photography, The Great Country Houses of Central Europe tells the stories of these magnificent buildings and the families that constructed them, immersing us in the vanished world of the region’s aristocracy.
Lord Michael Pratt sets his discussion of the houses and their patrons against the backdrop of Central European history. Beginning in the Middle Ages and continuing to the present day, this monumental study analyzes thirty of the region’s most important estates and introduces dozens of others. Although the primary focus is on the houses and the families that built them, gardens, grounds, and interiors are also illustrated in detail, including examples of furniture, decorative arts, and paintings. Splendid and surprising, these remarkable structures and the magisterial book that celebrates them display Central Europe in its full glory.