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Villa Gardens of the Mediterranean: From the Archives of Country Life By Kathryn Bradley-Hole.

Aurum, 2006. 208pp. £40

With a touch more class than the usual travel and lifestyle porn, here's the latest in what's now a long series of books (13 of them so far) created from Country Life's photo archives.

Arcades draped in wisteria, palms, rills and lichen-spattered putti recur in this lush tour of Algeria, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, with the sun always obligingly shining.

Among the more worthwhile inclusions is Harold Peto's Villa Maryland at SaintJean-Cap-Ferrat, with its architectural treatment of enclosure, vistas and levels - 'still the private playground of a tycoon, ' says the author.

Much the exception is the Villa Noailles at Hyères (pictured), with its recreation of the 'Cubist' garden that Gabriel Guévrékian designed for the Paris Exposition of 1925.

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