Palaces for Pigs


    Animal architecture and other beastly buildings
    Palaces for Pigs large image 1

        Publication Date

        19 May 2011


        Since the 16th century animals have provided an excuse to build fantastical structures; fuelled by British eccentricity and their extravagant love of their pets, remarkable buildings dedicated to animals have risen up all over the British Isles. The book celebrates architecture for animals and is illustrated with full-colour photography throughout.

        Main Summary

          Throughout the centuries there have been castles, great and small, for animals as diverse as goats and guinea pigs, deer and dogs, cows and bees, pigs and horses, as well as bears and even salmon. Thus cone-shaped homes were provided for doves in 1742, while in 1883 a Grecian temple with tapering Egyptian windows was built for pigs in Yorkshire.  A red sandstone elephant with a castle on its back was designed for bees in Cheshire in the 1800s, while at Exton in Rutland, a 18th-century Gothic-arched cattle shelter topped with a pinnacled dovecote, enhances the park in which it stands. With such architects as William Kent designing a cowshed, as well as Sir John Soane devising classical ‘canine residences’, these buildings are not mere curiosities; John Nash applied himself at his most picturesque to a dovecote, while Capability Brown was commissioned to create a classical menagerie and Henry Holland  designed an elaborate Chinese Dairy.  Rather than just laugh-a-minute novelties, these buildings are the happy results of the British passion for both architecture and for animals – of indulgence in unrestrained and often unnecessary extravagance, simply for the love of building and their beasts.  When designing for animals, architects and their patrons could realise their wildest flights of architectural fancy; the inhabitants could never complain, however idiosyncratic their dwelling – as George Eliot wrote in 1857, ‘Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms’ –  allowing the builders’ imaginations to flourish unbridled, often with scant observance to architectural convention.


          Architecture for animals has been and still continues to be a tremendous British tradition.  Palaces for Pigs – fully illustrated with striking photographs by the author – celebrates this tradition, telling the fascinating stories behind the buildings that housed animals and the monuments that commemorated them.

          Additional Information


          Lucinda Lambton

          Author Information

          Lucinda Lambton is a writer, photographer and broadcaster. Other books include: Vanishing Victoriana - on the unexpected and all too often undervalued 19th century architecture; Temples of Convenience - the best selling history of the lavatory; An Album of Curious Houses and Lucinda Lambton's A-Z of Britain - the best selling elaboration of the twenty six television programmes written and presented for the B.B.C.

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            1. Sport & Speed

            2. Plate & Platter

            3. Adored & Adornment

            4. Death & Decoration



              'this is a marvellous evocation of British eccentricity. . . Fun and fascinating.'
              'Gloriously idiosyncatic and often extravagantly lavish, she captures a fabulous variety of fanciful dwellings'
              'The author is on classic form in this amusing and instructive anthology.'
              Jeremy Musson
              'glossy, hugely entertaining . . . [this] fascinating book will certainly warm the cockles of the trail-blazing, sentimental, animal-loving heart that lurks within many an English breast.'
              Val Hennessy