For a detailed introduction to the architecture of the Gilded Age, Gilded Mansions: Grand Architecture and High Society, is a marvelous start. Though Craven makes a few mistakes about the New York society who inhabited the grand mansions along Fifth Avenue or the palatial “cottages” in Newport, the photographs of interiors and floorplans more than makes up for the sometimes overblown text. Gilded Mansions is pricey, but Craven manages to combine the best of social history and architecture with the glossy attraction of a coffee table book.
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