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Alnwick Castle is at the heart of Northumberland, England's most northerly county, a land filled with ancient market towns, golden beaches, moorland, and the remains of Hadrian's Wall. This imposing medieval castle sits by the River Aln on the edge of Alnwick town overlooking a landscape by Capability Brown. The home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, Alnwick Castle has belonged to the Percy family for over seven centuries. One of the largest inhabited castles in Britain, it is also visited by hundreds of thousands of people every summer. Some visitors are intrigued by the staterooms, some because the castle was used as 'Hogwarts' in the first two Harry Potter movies: very few until now have seen the private rooms.With unique access to both the castle and the Percy family archives, and the full cooperation of the Duke and Duchess, their staff, builders and interior designers, James Mcdonald takes the reader on a tour of twenty-first century castle living. He goes behind the scenes to talk to those who help make the castle function as a home for a modern family, and he visits both the extraordinary garden and the surrounding Hulne park. While describing the changes each generation of Dukes and Duchesses has bought, above all this is the story of Jane Northumberland, who since becoming Duchess in 1995 has remade the private side and has renovated the state rooms, blending English country house style with the existing Italianate grandeur. Illustrated with archive pictures and some 300 new photographs of both public and private rooms, this sumptuous book is a revealing portrait of one of the world's great castles, its magnificent recent restoration, and the people who live and work here.
James McDonald lives in London and is a freelance photographer and writer, and a contributor to leading interior magazines such as House and Garden and The World of Interiors. He studied interior design in Cape Town before returning to London to work in public relations. He changed careers to study photography, practicing on the Duke of Northumberland's Syon House in London, and secured his first commissions with World of Interiors in 2009. McDonald has made private books for royal families in the Middle East, but this is his first public book.