Life Along the Hudson: The Historic Country Estates of the Livingston FamilyBy Pieter Estersohn, foreword by John Winthrop Aldrich (Rizzoli, 2018)
$85. Scots-born Robert Livingston came to the American colonies in 1673 and immediately started amassing land—162,248 acres of it—and wealth. His many descendants built magisterial estates throughout the Hudson Valley. Fascinated by this robust dynasty, Architectural Digest photographer Estersohn profiled and photographed 35 historic homes built in 1730-1946, including such treasures as Clermont, Mongomery Place, and Wilderstein. Most are so traditionally maintained—think tall windows, bas-relief mantels, tasteful pastels, luxuriant carpets, good gardening—that it’s a shock to turn a page and spot an electric guitar and Fender amp lurking under an ancestral portrait at Teviot. Estersohn’s photographs glow, and he has an enthusiast’s eye for detail: the “faux-bois” ceiling of Rokeby’s wood-paneled octagonal library, the Callender House “pigeonnier” where FDR proposed to his cousin Eleanor.