The National Trust property of Uppark in West Sussex is, tragically, now most famous for the huge blaze which ripped the heart out of the house in 1989. Tour the house today, though, and the uninformed visitor would probably be none the wiser. Thanks to frantic efforts to rescue the contents of the house from the flames, and six years of rebuilding and skilled restoration, Uppark is once more a jewel of a country house in a spectacular location on the South Downs.
One of the many treasures rescued from the blaze is a dolls’ house dating from between 1735 and 1740. Described as one of the two most important surviving British dolls’ houses from that century, it stands some seven feet high on an arched “basement”. Immaculately detailed, it gives a glimpse of life for both the family of the house and their servants, and perhaps had a use in educating young ladies in the workings of the “below stairs” quarters that it would not be seemly for them to visit in reality.
This panorama shows the dining room of the dolls’ house, complete with original oil paintings and hallmarked silver tableware. It forms part of a virtual tour that will be installed at the property in 2008 – for details of visiting arrangements please see the National Trust web site
My thanks to the property staff at Uppark and the National Trust head office for permission to include the panorama in the WWP.