Country Life (magazine)
Country Life logo
|Former editors||See editors section below|
The magazine covers the pleasures and joys of rural life, as well as the concerns of rural people. It is primarily concerned with rural communities and their environments as well as the concerns of country dwellers and landowners and has a diverse readership which, although mainly UK based is also international. Much of its success has historically been built on its coverage of country houses, architecture and gardening. The first several dozen pages of each issue are devoted to colour advertisements for upmarket residential property, which are one of the best known attractions of the magazine, and popular with everyone from the super rich looking for a country house or estate to those who can only aspire to own such a property.
The pursuits and interests covered include hunting, shooting, farming, equestrian news and gardening and there are regular news and opinion pieces as well as a firm engagement with rural politics. There are reviews of books, food and wine, art and architecture (also many offers) and antiques and crafts. Illustrative material includes the Tottering-by-Gently cartoon by Annie Tempest. The property section claims to have more prime agents than anywhere else.
Recent feature articles have included Britain's Best View, The Cream of Counties survey, England's Favourite Village, Britain's oldest inhabited dwelling (2003), and Dream Acres imaginary landscape (2009).
Country Life was launched in 1897, incorporating Racing Illustrated. At this time it was owned by Edward Hudson, the owner of Lindisfarne Castle and various Lutyens-designed houses including The Deanery in Sonning. At that time golf and racing served as its main content, as well as the property coverage, initially of manorial estates, that has become its mainstay. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the late Queen Mother, used to appear frequently on its front cover. The frontispiece, which usually features a young woman from a landed British family, is very well known and is called popularly "Girls in Pearls", showing upper class British rural life in its most ideal light.
In 1997, the centenary of the magazine was celebrated by a special issue, the publishing of a book by Sir Roy Strong, the airing of a BBC2 TV programme on a year in the life of the magazine, and staging a Gold Medal winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. In 1999, the magazine launched its new website countrylife.co.uk.
In 2007, the magazine celebrated its 110th anniversary with a special souvenir issue on 4 January. Starting on Wednesday 7 May 2008 the magazine is issued each Wednesday, having been on sale each Thursday for the past 111 years, with the earlier day being achieved using electronic publishing technology, with the magazine retaining its usual Monday deadline.
- J E Vincent 1897-1900
- Peter Anderson Graham 1900-1925
- W E Barber 1925-1933
- Christopher Hussey 1933-1940 (previously Architectural Editor)
- F Whitaker 1940-1958
- John Adams 1958-1973
- Michael Wright 1973-1984
- Marcus Binney 1984-1986 (previously Architectural Editor)
- Jenny Green 1986-1992
- Clive Aslet 1993-2006 (previously Deputy Editor, now Editor-at-Large)
- Mark Hedges 2006-now
- Clive Aslet 1989-1993 (previously Architectural Editor)
- Michael Hall 1998-2004 (previously Architectural Editor, Editor of Apollo 2004-now)
- Jessica Fellowes 2004-2008
- Rupert Uloth 2008-now
Architectural Editors [dates as Architectural Writer]:
- provisionally Edward Hudson and J E Vincent 1897-1900 / Peter Graham 1900-1907
- Henry Avray Tipping 1907-1910, 1916-1930 [1930-1933]
- Sir Lawrence Weaver 1910-1916
- Christopher Hussey 1930-1933, 1940-1964 [1921-1930]
- Arthur Oswald 1933-1940 [1928-1933, 1940-1969]
- Mark Girouard 1964-1967 [c1958-1964]
- John Cornforth 1967-1977 [c1960-1967, 1977-c1990]
- Marcus Binney 1977-1984 [1968-1977]
- Clive Aslet 1984-1989 [1977-1984]
- Giles Worsley 1989-1994 [1985-1988]
- Michael Hall 1994-1998 [1989-1994]
- Jeremy Musson 1998-2007 [1995-1998]
- Dr John Goodall 2007-now
- Tim Richardson 1995-1999
- Fred Whitsey
- Kathryn Bradley-Hole c2003-now
Notable contributors 
- Bernard Darwin (golf 1907-1961)
- Alethea Hayter (fashion editor 1933-38)
- Claude Scudamore Jarvis ("A Countryman's Notes", 1939–53)
- Gertrude Jekyll (gardening)
- Lucinda Lambton (architecture)
- John Martin Robinson (architecture)
- Alistair John Rowan (architecture, before 1967)
- Tim Yeo (politics)
- Christina Broom (photographer)
Staff Architectural Photographers:
- Charles Latham c1897-c1909
- Frederick Evans (1853–1945) pre1906-?
- Alfred E. Henson (1885–1972) 1917-57
- Alex Starkey 1953-87 (last staff photographer)
Australian magazine 
See also 
- Country Life books - from the photographic and article archives of Country Life magazine (mostly architectural)
- The Curious House Guest - a 2005-6 TV series by then Architectural Editor Jeremy Musson on visiting country houses
- Country Life, 1897-1997: The English Arcadia, by Sir Roy Strong, Boxtree Ltd, 1996, ISBN 7-7777-7642-8, ISBN 978-7-7777-7642-0 (the history of the magazine).
- Fifty Years of Country Life, by Bernard Darwin, Country Life, 1947 (94 pages, on the first 50 year's history of the magazine).
- An Everyday Story of Country Life, BBC2, 1997, being a TV documentary filmed over a one year period in 1996 at the magazine, to celebrate its centenary.
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