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Country Life Archive: About

Twentieth-century UK publication chronicling affairs of interest to the upper class. - Significant coverage of art history and architecture. - Full archival run from 1897-2005


Historical Resource

Major resource for historians of Architecture, Landscape, Class and Society, Art and Art History, Rural Life.

Rare Records

Image rich issues provide historical record of buildings’ interior design – often the only surviving record.

Explore Cultural studies

Social and economic historians as well as those exploring cultural studies will benefit from issues full of 20th century society, advertisements and features illustrating changing tastes and social mores.

Visual Impact

Highly visual – students, researchers and practitioners can draw inspiration and enhance research with high-resolution images.

Valued Archives

Archives are valued by researchers and historians for guidance on important architecture and art topics, such as restoration, collection, provenance research, etc.

UK Records

Provides an important record of 20th century UK society, art and architecture.

Upper Class Interests

Covering affairs of interest to the upper classes across the entire 20th century.

What is the Country Life Archive?

Spanning more than a century, The Country Life Archive offers the backfile of this historical British culture and lifestyle magazine from its first issue in 1897 (when it was known as Country Life Illustrated) to 2005.*

All pages are in full color, are reproduced in high resolution, and are fully searchable.

Widely considered the foremost record of country estate living in the UK, Country Life Archive preserves this history, and assembles one of the most extensive records of this unique lifestyle from the turn of the nineteenth century forward. Key estates, great country houses, as well as fine art and architecture, society news and rural leisure pursuits are all covered in this publication of record.

All editorial content and pictorial features are captured as separate documents to allow for easy search and discovery. For advertisements, the featured company and brand names have been assigned to the document records where possible, and all image captions are captured to a high degree of accuracy, allowing precise retrieval of photographs and illustrations. Contributor names that appear in image credits are also indexed. This archive database provides a wealth of information to researchers and students interested in UK culture and history over the past 100 years and beyond.

* Policy is to include every issue in full, from the first to the end of the 2005 publication year. Due to the rarity of some of the original print volumes, however, there are occasional small gaps (issues or pages).

History of Country Life

Founded in 1897 by Edward Hudson, originally under the title Country Life Illustrated, the magazine today continues its focus on ‘the British way of life,’ with a focus on affairs of interest to the United Kingdom’s upper classes across the whole of the twentieth century. This popular magazine serves as an important record of the changing ownership of the United Kingdom’s great houses, sometimes serving as the only source for restoration of early 20th-century structures. Its editorial scope continues to include such luxury lifestyle interests as antiques, fine countryside estates and gardens, wildlife, architecture, the arts, food, and society news.

With significant coverage of not only art and art history, but also pursuits relevant to its audience, such as equestrian news, landscaping, hunting, and shooting, this archive illustrates a unique and rich piece of UK history and culture.

Subject coverage

  • 20th Century British History
  • Antiques
  • Architecture
  • Art
  • British Great Houses
  • Culture
  • Equestrian
  • Farming
  • Hunting
  • Landscaping
  • Lifestyle
  • Rural Living
  • Shooting