‘A man spends much of his life in shirts… they’re hugely important’

Shirtmaker Emma Willis spoke to Country Life’s Hetty Chidwick about why some things are just not worth compromising on.Henry Jermyn has a lot to answer for: without him, London’s Jermyn Street wouldn’t have been our favourite bustling shopping destination, brimming with topnotch establishments, for the past 300 years.
Enter from the St James’s Street end, look right and you might catch a glimpse of shirt-maker Emma Willis measuring up her next client.
‘I only use the finest Swiss cotton, the shirts are cut by hand and are made with care and attention, which our customers can feel,’ says Emma.
‘A man spends much

The Portuguese paradise dotted with masterpieces of English sculpture

The superb Rococo garden at Queluz has been completely renovated in the last five years. Tim Richardson takes a look at a slice of Portugal place famed for its English lead sculptures – with photography by Paul Highnam.The main facade and Neptune gardenThe royal estate at Queluz, 10 miles north-west of Lisbon, was established as a seat for the younger sons of the kings of Portugal in 1654. When, in 1747, the Infante Pedro—who became Pedro III 30 years later—began work on a new summer palace here, it was conceived as a personal expression of contemporary taste.
Dom Pedro’s original architect,

Skibo Castle: Carnegie’s Highland paradise

In the heather-covered hills of bonnie Scotland, a world of enchantment awaits. Once there, you’ll never want to leave, says Annunciata Walton.One suspects that, if required, even the wild Scottish weather will submit to the will of the staff at Skibo Castle, such is their quiet, all-conquering capability – let it rain during the aromatherapy spa appointment, the sun will shine for galloping and golf. This Highland retreat is without equal. It is not a hotel; it is the five-star Carnegie Club, fit for a discerning few – Madonna and Guy Richie were married here – and, at the moment,

My favourite painting: Merryn Somerset Webb

‘It still represents for me the small moments of calm in an otherwise completely chaotic time’Six Butterflies and a Moth on a Rose Branch, about 1690, by William Gouw Ferguson (1632/33– after 1695), 8in by 10in, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh
Merryn Somerset Webb says:
When I had small children, we rarely left the ground floor of the National Gallery in Scotland. Instead, we did the same circuit every visit. In the main door. Check out an ancestor of my husband’s on the wall to the right. Find the animals in all the paintings in the “Painting as Spectacle” section. And then on

How to buy a bottle of fine wine good enough to pass down as an heirloom

David Elswood, International Head of Wine at Christie’s, talks through the options if you’re after a bottle of wine to hand down through the ages.When looking to buy an heirloom in the field of wine, it’s best not to stray from the arena of classic regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne or vintage Port.
The logic is sound: wines from these places not only have a long and fairly predictable future ahead of them in terms of drinking potential, but the best will also appreciate steadily in value should your offspring turn out to be teetotal and more likely to sell

Seven fascinating things we just learned about the Census

A new book about the history of the Census could have been a dry, dusty tome. Instead, it’s riveting and even, at times, impossibly romantic.Buckingham Palace in the 1841 CensusThere’s nothing quite like a book that turns out to be an unexpected joy, and Roger Hutchinson’s The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker (published by Little, Brown at £20) is exactly that.
With his eye for telling detail and his palpable fascination for the social history of the British isles, Hutchinson has made this history of the Census a highly readable delight. It’s the kind of general-knowledge-broadening book that will make you (if you read

How to buy a shotgun that you can pass down as a family heirloom

Choose wisely and a sporting gun will give years of pleasure that can go far beyond your own lifetime, says Howard Dixon of Christie’s.Purdey’s 12-bore large-scroll single-trigger sidelock ejector, as sold by Christie’s for £74,500My best advice, to anyone looking to purchase something that will last the generations, would be to buy a premium gun and to look after it well. Built to last, there is still value and use in the best guns made in the late-Victorian and Edwardian period as, in essence, the designs haven’t changed very much in 140 years.
The only aspect that has changed is that

Six extraordinary English homes that have been passed down for dozens of generations

Never mind armorial silver, an ancestral house is one of the most meaningful (and challenging) of inheritances. Annunciata Walton looks at six that have been in the same family for generations. Broughton Hall, North Yorkshire
Home to the original Dicky and Daffy (Country Life’s Annie Tempest grew up at Broughton), the Tempest family has been here since 1097, although the current hall was built in 1597.
Today, Broughton presides over perhaps the world’s most beautiful business park; the family still lives in the hall, but the 3,000-acre estate houses more than 50 companies, employing some 600 people, in a variety of converted

Pizza as you’ve never seen it before, with kohlrabi, mozzarella and pea shoots

Kohlrabi isn’t the prettiest of things, but it really does taste quite delicious. Kohlrabi is a large, bulbous vegetable that doesn’t get much attention on our shores, but I think it deserves some time in the limelight. It isn’t the prettiest of things, but it really does taste quite delicious, as I hope you’ll agree.
Kohlrabi pizza (makes 2 large pizzas)
650g Italian 00 flour
7g dried yeast
Good pinch of sea salt
40ml olive oil
300ml water (you may need to add a little more)
10 garlic cloves
2 kohlrabi
12 thyme sprigs
8 rosemary sprigs
400g mozzarella, whole and then sliced
150g grated Parmesan
75g pea shoots
Juice of 1 lemon
To make

Greatest recipes ever: Anna Del Conte’s ragù bolognese sauce

The queen of Italian cookery’s slow-cooked classic. ‘Anna is the queen of Italian cookery, and this is as far removed from the ghastly spag bol (made with cheap mince, burnt onions and ketchup) as it can be. This is a slow-cooked classic.’ Tom Parker Bowles
Anna Del Conte’s ragù bolognese sauce (makes enough for six helpings of pasta)
Ragù is the perfect example of Bolognese cooking: rich yet well balanced, lavish yet restrained, meaty yet fresh-tasting. There are hundreds of versions of ragù, but the classic one, the one that everybody identifies with its place of origin, is the bolognese.
Nowadays, ragù is