120 Years of ‘Girls in Pearls’ at the Beautiful Rooms and Blushing Brides exhibition

To celebrate Country Life’s 120th anniversary, the magazine is staging an exhibition called 'Beautiful Rooms & Blushing Brides' at the Linley Belgravia showroom.

The exhibition features portraits from the iconic Frontispiece page – the famous ‘Girls in Pearls’ – as well as some of Country Life’s finest interiors photography. The two elements offer a chronicle of the evolution of English taste, through the lens of Country Life’s extensive archive.

‘This is an exhibition of where to live, who to marry and how to decorate your home exquisitely through the pages of Country Life,’ says the magazine’s editor Mark Hedges.

The Beautiful Rooms & Blushing Brides exhibition is free to visit. It is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm until June 17th at the Linley Belgravia showroom, 60 Pimlico Road, London.

Arguably the most iconic page in periodical publishing, the Frontispiece has since 1897 graced the first page of the magazine’s editorial content, following the adverts at the beginning. Initially conceived to announce a young woman’s introduction into society, the page has also featured men and members of the Royal Family.

In recent years it has evolved, celebrating engagements, achievements and burgeoning careers.

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Among the ‘Girls in Pearls’ included in the exhibition are:

  • Viscountess Astor, the first woman to sit in Parliament as an MP, who appeared on 1st November 1919.
  • The Hon. Deborah Mitford, photographed shortly after her engagement to the future 11th Duke of Devonshire, appeared on 15th March 1941.

Picture: Country Life Picture Library

  • Lady Helen Windsor, daughter of Duke and Duchess of Kent, appeared on the occasion of her 18th birthday, 29th April 1982. (Pictured top)
  • Daisy and Phoebe Knatchbull, the daughters of Philip Knatchbull (CEO of Curzon World), appeared in May 2015. Daisy is currently the PR and Events Manager for Huntsman on Savile Row.

Picture: Country Life Picture Library

The interiors photography is similarly eclectic. Throughout its 120 year history, Country Life has enjoyed unrivalled access to the finest country properties and its extraordinary interiors photography, which offers a fascinating view of the ever-evolving country house look.

Britain’s most beautiful rooms, captured by Country Life for 120 years

John Goodall explains how Country Life’s earliest photographers pioneered the art of capturing England’s most beautiful rooms.

More details are available in this article, but here are some of the interiors included:

England's most beautiful rooms

The Hall at Deanery Garden, the house built by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901 for the founder of Country Life, Edward Hudson. Photograph taken in 1903.


A view of the saloon at Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire, published in 1933 following redecoration and remodelling work by architect Paul Phipps and its tenants Mr and Mrs Tree (the latter familiar as the decorator Nancy Lancaster).


England's most beautiful rooms

The 18th century dining room at Wimborne St Giles, Dorset, which has been restored by current owner Lord Shaftesbury. Photograph taken in 2016.

‘Beautiful Rooms & Blushing Brides – 120 Years of Country Life Photography’ is free to attend at the Linley Belgravia showroom, 60 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8LP, during usual opening hours. It runs from Thursday 6 April until Saturday 17 June.