Kingston Lacy – Mansion and Museum in Dorset, England

Kingston Lacy is a wonderful, Italian-style home located in Wimborne Minster in the Dorset countryside, in the United Kingdom. Three members of the Bankes family created the estate; the land was purchased from 1632 – 1636 and the house was built in 1660. In the 1830s it was transformed and the interior was remodelled by William John, another member of the Bankes family.

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Today you can still find grand interiors, exquisite wooden carvings, family memorabilia, classic decor and a variety of fascinating objects.

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Kingston Lacy will appeal to lovers of art and is also home to works by Rubens, Van Dyck, Titian and Brueghel. There is even an Egyptian Room with the largest private collection of ancient Egyptian objects to be found in the United Kingdom.

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One of my favourite works on display at Kingston Lacy is by far The Judgement of Solomon, a work by Sebastiano del Piombo. What makes this piece of art so intriguing is the fact that there’s a hidden component below the top layer of paint. Restoration has proven that there are three different parts of figures painted below the surface. These parts were never completed and hence the painting is considered unfinished.

What also interests me about this work is the narrative behind it – a Bible story about King Solomon who attempted to resolve an issue between two prostitutes both claiming to be the mother of an infant. Solomon stated that he would split the child into two with his sword in order to resolve the matter. At that moment, the real mother of the child screamed out loud, evidently coming forward to protect her own child whereas the other woman merely gesticulated in jealously.

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Once you’ve explored the inside of Kingston Lacy, I recommend a walk or even picnic on the lawns outside. There’s a Japanese Garden and also a teahouse where you can enjoy coffee, tea and scones or a small bite to eat.

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In fact, the entire plot of land covers 8,500 acres. So plenty of walking and spots to sit in the sun.

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In close, if you’re visiting the south coast of England be sure to venture a little inland to Kingston Lacy – a mansion steeped in history and a really pleasant day out especially if the weather permits.

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Elizabeth Joss

Elizabeth Joss is the founder and main writer at The Museum Times. She works as a university lecturer by day and is an avid travel blogger and arts and culture enthusiast by night. Elizabeth started The Museum Times out of the need to give smaller, lesser-known museums more exposure.

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