Three centuries worth of New England's magnificent houses and mansions are collected in an equally grand new book from Rizzoli: Great Houses of New England, by Roderic H. Blackburn (text) and Geoffrey Gross (photography). Spanning a wide range of styles, these stately houses are the originals from which many of today's McMansions have been copied. They're more than just artifacts, however; as Blackburn writes, "Through the architecture and decorative arts we see the development of a people and their region."
Among the more splendid examples in the book is the Jeremiah Lee Mansion in Marblehead, Mass., dating from 1767 (pictured here), the impressiveness of which is "conveyed by its subdued monumentality," Blackburn notes. Lee, a shipping merchant, built it to emulate aristocratic estates in England, so you might say not all that much has changed. Also of note are the beautiful brick Georgian Macpheadris-Warner House in Portsmouth, N.H., dating from 1716; Rosecliff, a palatial McKim, Mead & White mansion which was the setting for the movie version of The Great Gasby; and Brookside, a gracious Greek Revival in Orwell, VT. See the gallery for more.
Gallery: Great Houses of New England