SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR
Chequers is one of Britain's most familiar yet least known country houses. Indeed, many people would summon to struggle to summon up an accurate image of what it looks like or even where it is. As the country seat of the British Prime Minister it is not open to the public and few photographs, until now, have been available. In this substantive new appreciation of the house and its history, Norma Major opens the door and takes the reader on a guided tour of one of the country's most interesting national treasures. Beginning with the development of Chequers Estate and the building of the main house in the sixteenth century, the book goes on to look at the different families and people who have lived there, including Lady Mary Grey who was imprisoned there, Frances Cromwell (daughter of Oliver Cromwell) and, more recently, Ruth and Arthur Lee who restored the house and donated it to the nation. Since that time, Chequers has taken on centre-stage position in Prime Ministers' public and private lives and has been the backdrop for many important and vivid moments of twentieth-century politics. From her unique position as Prime Minister's wife, Mrs Major has had unprecedented access to the house as well as to its spectacular collection of paintings, furniture and decorative arts. She has also had the opportunity to talk to past Prime Ministers and their families about how they used the house and the changes that they made during their occupancy. A superb series of specially commissioned photographs by Mark Fiennes shows how the magnificent interiors look today and provides intriguing comparison with early photographs from the Chequers archives. Mark Fiennes is one of the country's leading architectural photographers. He worked for ' Country Life' magazine for many years and recent commissions include photographing both Spencer House and Clarence House. He was specially commissioned to take the colour photographs that illustrate this book.