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Pictures of Kingston Lacy

a Stately Home in the town of Wimborne Minster, in the county of Dorset

About Kingston Lacy

Set in 250 acres of spectacular parkland landscaped in the latter half of the 18th century and now roamed by a herd of Red Devon Cattle, Kingston Lacy is one of the earliest surviving houses built in a Classical style after the Restoration of 1660.

The manor of Kingston Lacy took its name from its medieval owners, the de Lacey's who were Earls of Lincoln. Prior to this, for long periods it had been held by the Royal family until Sir John Banks bought it in 1637. The present Restoration mansion was built to replace Corfe Castle, the original family seat which despite the valiant efforts of Lady Mary Banks, who held out against Parliamentarian troops, was seized and ruined during the Civil War.

Kingston Lacy House was designed by Sir Roger Pratt, a disciple of Inigo Jones. Building commenced in 1663 and the house of just two storey's with a semi-basement was completed in 1665. The chosen building material was an attractive red-brick with stone dressings, today is beautifully mellowed. Sir Charles Barry was instructed in 1835 to restore the cupola and other features. This restoration work was not completed until 1839, by which time the house had been subject to extensive "improvements" by Barry who added the decorative chimney's to the skyline and lowered the ground level to convert the basement into a full floor on the main front.

Sir Charles Barry was also responsible for the spectacular Renaissance interior, a flamboyant style much favoured by him at the time and which includes the splendid marble staircase. The Spanish Room is the "piece de resistance" of the house, this shows magnificent works of art collected in Spain during the Peninsular War by William John Banks, these are displayed against gilded leather hangings beneath a superb coffered ceiling. Included in the paintings is Velazquez's portrait of Cardinal Massami. Dominating the Dining Room is Sebastiano del Piombo's, unfinished masterpiece "The Judgement of Solomon". Other priceless treasures in the house include a fine collection of Egyptian artefacts from 3000BC and amongst Kingston Lacy's famous collection of paintings are works by Titian and Van Dyck.

Beyond the house, in the lovely grounds and gardens visitors can see the four pink obelisks brought back from a temple on the River Nile by William John Bankes. There is a pleasant cedar walk planted with trees by earlier notable visitors, including the Duke of Wellington and a lovely Lime Avenue leads to the Nursery Wood arboretum.

Kingston Lacy is in the care of the National Trust, who at present are restoring the pretty Edwardian garden.

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