Dollhouse

1730 Dollhouse at Uppark House & Garden

The Uppark House & Gardens located on the South Downs in England is an 18th century mansion which is maintained by the National Trust Collection. The Earl of Tankerville was the original owner and builder of the property which was built in 1690 once he figured out how to have water available at the site. The home which was damaged by a fire in 1989 has been restored room by room to its original Georgian elegance.

Uppark House & Garden also contains a “baby house” dollhouse that dates to 1730. The wooden dollhouse is intact and contains the original decorations and furniture. The dollhouse originally was owned by Lady Sarah, the wife of one of the owners of Uppark House, Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh. The dollhouse first came to Uppark House upon her marriage to Sir Matthew in 1746. True to the tradition of early dollhouses, the dollhouse was a decorative item for adults not a toy. Girls could be trained in the running of a household through the use of a dollhouse but they generally would not have been able to play with the dollhouse as children do today.

In addition to the dollhouse, the Uppark House & garden is a wonderful way to see what life was like in the 18th century. The house contains antiques from all over Europe, collected by family members on the obligatory “Grand EuropeanTour”. One of the most famous areas of the house is the servants’ quarters in the basement which has been restored to illustrate the downstairs life of servants. H.G. Well’s mother worked as a servant at the Uppark House and the young Herbert George would often visit his mother at the house the setting of which supposedly led to inspire some of his later science fiction novels. The gardens have also been faithfully restored. They were originally laid out by the famous garden designer Humphry Repton.

The house itself is located atop the South Downs providing visitors with lovely views of the Sussex countryside. One of the best places to see the views is from the Print Room which was the domain of Lady Sarah. The Print Room is only open once a month on the first Wednesday of each month. From the windows of the Print Room, the former Admiral could watch the shipping go by on the Solent when he was at home.

 

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