History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
In 1841 William Bankes was forced to flee abroad after being sentenced for a homosexual offence, and while in exile he drew up designs for perhaps the most impressive chamber at Kingston Lacy, the Spanish Room. This room, clad in painted and gilded leather and boasting a superb gilded ceiling from a Venetian palace, was intended to show off his marvellous collection of Spanish art.
Over the course of 20 years Bankes lavished attention on the house, which he renamed Kingston Lacy. He focussed most of his attention on the interior decorative elements. Here he assembled a wonderful collection of European paintings, including works by Velazquez, as well as family portraits by Reynolds and Van Dyck. One has to wonder what the house would be like today if Bankes had not had to cut short his redecorating and flee the country after an "indiscretion" with a guardsman.
The entire interior of Kingston Lacy is filled with exquisite artwork, with paintings and sculpture of the highest order. The rooms are sumptuously furnished to show off the art, along with the original Bankes family furniture. Perhaps the most impressive area of the house, apart from the Spanish Room, is the Loggia, the airy, spacious staircase landing, which shows off three specially commissioned statues of Sir Ralph Bankes, builder of the house, his wife, Lady Mary ('Brave Lady Mary' of Corfe Castle fame), and King Charles. At the base of the statue of King Charles is a scene depicting the siege of Corfe Castle which earned Lady Mary her moniker.
The spectacular marble staircase designed by Barry was Bankes's favourite design element. Everywhere is an abundance of marble statuary reminiscent of classical Rome, and marvelous carved panelling and plasterwork. The extensive gardens are dotted with Egyptian statuary, making Kingston Lacy a truly fascinating and eclectic experience.
The house is set in spacious grounds, with a sunken garden, kitchen garden, and lovely walking trails to enjoy. Only a short distance west of Kingston Lacy is Badbury Rings, a prehistoric hilltop settlement also in the care of the National Trust.
About Kingston Lacy
Address: Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England, BH21 4EA
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 1.5 m W Wimbourne Minster, off B3082
Website: Kingston Lacy
Phone: 01202 883 402
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: ST980 019
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
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17th century (Time Period) - 18th century (Time Period) - castle (Architecture) - Charles I (Person) - Civil War (Architecture) - Edward I (Person) - Henry VII (Person) - Margaret Beaufort (Person) - Medieval (Time Period) - Parliamentary (Historical Reference) - Prehistoric (Time Period) - Saxon (Time Period) -
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Badbury Rings - 1.2 miles (Prehistoric Site)
White Mill - 1.6 miles (Historic Building)
Priest's House Museum - 2.2 miles (Museum)
Wimborne Minster Church - 2.2 miles (Historic Church)
Deans Court - 2.3 miles (Garden)
Tarrant Keynston, All Saints Church - 3.7 miles (Historic Church)
Tarrant Rushton, St Mary's Church - 3.7 miles (Historic Church)
Tarrant Crawford, St Mary's Church - 3.8 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Accommodation to Kingston Lacy: