The Nostell Priory is now an elegant palatial home which is part of Great Britain’s National Trust. The home, located on the grounds of a former monastery, is open to the public and features furniture by Chippendale, rooms by Robert Adam and James Paine, and many historic and famous paintings. After the monasteries were disbanded in 1530 by proclamation of Henry VIII, the property became available for the building of a home.
The Nostell Priory home was built by the Winn family who acquired the property in 1654. The 4th Baronet, Sir Rowland Winn was responsible for building the new manor home which was designed by James Paine the architect. He was also contracted to do much of the interior of the home. The 5th Baronet who inherited the home in 1765 commissioned Robert Adams to redesign much of the interior, and to also build stables, a family wing and a lodge in the parkland. The home continued to be called the Nostell Priory after the original monastery.
The Nostell Priory is also home to one of the most famous dollhouses in the world the Nostell Priory Doll House. This dollhouse which is in the “baby house” style is known as the “star” of the property. It is rumored to have been built by Thomas Chippendale but this has never been able to be confirmed. The nine room three story dollhouse which is almost seven feet tall depicts life in the eighteenth century England in a titled family. The home was begun by Susannah Lady Winn in 1735 when the 4th Baronet Sir Rowland Winn was constructing the Nostell Priory itself. The “baby house” features a faux stone basement, classical urns and statuary, and a pedimented façade.
The dollhouse is constructed in the 1:12 scale and was seen as a symbol of status and wealth and allowed Lady Winn to display works of art – all in miniature. Everything in the house are perfect replicas of life size furniture, rugs, paintings and accessories almost down to the last detail. The rooms in the house include a dressing room, drawing room, the best bedroom, a hall, kitchen, everyday parlor, family bedrooms, and a nursery. As with the house itself it is thought that Chippendale constructed much of the miniature furnishings. The fine accessories include hand blown glass, hallmarked sterling silver, and 18th century French paintings. The Nostell Priory Baby House contains almost all of its original furnishings. Also of interest, the staff at the Nostell Priory recently constructed a miniature shadow box that details all the different ways in which the dollhouse is maintained including conservation materials and equipment, miniature dust covers, vacuums, white gloves, shoe covers, and even tissue paper hats.
Visitors to the Nostell Priory House can enjoy the manor, the dollhouse, 300 acres of landscaped property with walks by the lake, an orchard and and even an adventure playground for children. The Nostell Priory House is located near Wakefield in England.