Lively history put into print

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A NEW book presenting the lively history of Alnwick Castle is being published next month.

Written with the full co-operation of the Percys, their staff, builders and interior designers, and with unique access to the castle archives and to the attraction itself, photographer and writer James McDonald lifts the lid on both the world-famous venue and the family, interspersed with many personal stories and details.

With a foreword by the Duchess of Northumberland, the book, entitled Alnwick Castle – The Home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, features:

l detailed coverage of the renovations of the state rooms;

l never-before-seen private rooms;

l new photographs of both the public and private rooms;

l a fascinating look at everyday castle life.

McDonald also describes the changes to Alnwick that each generation of Dukes and Duchesses have brought.

In particular, he covers the story of Jane Northumberland, who since becoming Duchess in 1995 has remade the private side of the house and renovated the state rooms, blending English country house style with the existing grandeur and restored the Alnwick Garden to make it the iconic attraction it is today.

Illustrated with archive pictures and more than 200 new photographs, the book is a revealing portrait of Alnwick Castle, its recent restoration and the people who live and work there.

The Duchess said: “This is the first time such a book has been published about Alnwick Castle.

“It has been well-researched, is very well-written and the stunning photographs do the castle justice.

“It tells the history of the castle and, through interviews with family members, estate and household staff. It explains how Alnwick Castle operates and why it continues to be a much-loved family home to the Percy family.

“Previously unseen photographs and descriptions of the family living quarters show how we have made a family home within a fortress. “James McDonald stayed with us on and off for two years, occasionally driving us mad in the process, but we have to admit that his research has proven worthwhile.”

To celebrate the book’s publication on June 7, there will be a special book-signing event with the Duchess at the Alnwick Garden on Monday from noon.

The book will be priced at £30.