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Distributed for Reaktion Books

The Story of Follies

Architectures of Eccentricity

A beautifully illustrated history of these quirky ornamental buildings in gardens across the globe.
Are they frivolous or practical? Follies are buildings constructed primarily for decoration, but they suggest another purpose through their appearance. In this visually stunning book, Celia Fisher describes follies in their historical and architectural context, looks at their social and political significance, and highlights their relevance today. She explores follies built in protest, follies in Oriental and Gothic styles, animal-related follies, waterside follies and grottoes, and, finally, follies in glass and steel. Featuring many fine illustrations, from historical paintings to contemporary photographs and prints, and taking in follies from Great Britain to Ireland, throughout Europe, and beyond, The Story of Follies is an amusing and informative guide to fanciful, charming buildings.

398 pages | 150 color plates, 38 halftones | 7 1/2 x 9 3/4

Architecture: British Architecture, European Architecture, History of Architecture

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“Originating from the French word for madness – also translating to extravagance or stupidity – defining follies is, according to art historian Celia Fisher, ‘almost as tricky as defining art’. She explores their wonder in this beautifully illustrated and captivating book.”

Daily Mail (UK)

"A guide to these fanciful buildings in Britain, Ireland and beyond, placing them in their historical, social and architectural context, and examining their relevance for today."

Gardens Illustrated

"This book is delicious. I love Fisher’s account of Beachborough Manor, which we know from a painting by Edward Haytley."

The Oldie

“The book all folly lovers have been waiting for. . . it takes the appreciation of and learning about this branch of architecture and landscape design up to a new level. . . . Very literate with numerous allusions to classical antiquity and citations from living authors, and very well researched with a substantial range of sources.”


"Fisher draws on numerous sources to show her erudition in a feature of architecture, gardens, and landscape design, which she reveals in a series of fascinating stories linked to the world’s artistic and cultural development."

Jonathan Holt, editor of "Follies" magazine and author of several books on the follies of the West Country

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