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Spring cleaning a historic dolls’ house

May 25th, 2012

Nostell Priory near Wakefield is home to one of the National Trust’s most important treasures – a historic dolls’ house dating back to 1735 and reputedly built by Thomas Chippendale.

Every year the dolls’ house undergoes spring cleaning and with more than 300 individual items housed inside, it’s by no means a simple operation.

As Ellie Matthews, conservation assistant at Nostell told the Yorkshire Evening Post:

“Care and attention is needed with each of the tiny pieces. We’ll be removing each item, carefully dusting it and checking for damage or deterioration before placing it back in the house.

“The cleaning of the doll’s house will be done whilst visitors are in the house and is a great opportunity for them to see the work the National Trust does to conserve our collections.

“It also means that whilst cleaning, we can point out things they might not notice on first glance.

“One quirky feature that we have is a very tiny replica mouse which lives in the doll’s house. Its location changes every year, and children enjoy spying out where it lives.”

The dolls’ house has many miniature pieces of Chippendale-style furniture, which adds weight to the belief that the house is the work of a young Thomas Chippendale.

It also has a marble topped parlour table with real wrought-iron brackets and a cabinet inlaid with ivory.  The level of detail is incredible, right down to the tableware that is made of crystal and the silver that’s all hallmarked.

Being cared for by the National Trust, the Nostell dolls’ house is in the very best of hands.



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