Nonsuch Gallery and Service Wing at Nonsuch Mansion
- Original design
- Jeffrey Wyatt, 1806
The 2018 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2019 programme mid-August.
Nonsuch Mansion was built in 1802-6. It was designed by Jeffry Wyatt (later Sir Jeffry Wyatville) in the Tudor Gothic style he later used at Windsor Castle as the country home of the Farmer family, and replaced an existing building on the site of the Keeper’s Lodge of Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace. The estate including the Mansion was acquired by the local authorities, which manage the park, in 1937.
The Mansion is now privately used but certain rooms are sometimes made available to the public during the Open House London event. The Service Wing and Stable Block were restored by the Friends of Nonsuch and are maintained and interpreted by them as a Museum.
Nonsuch Palace Gallery in the Old Coach House has been filled with a splendid model of Nonsuch Palace, which can be seen for the first time in more than 300 years – in a scale model based on 50 years of research. The replica of Nonsuch Palace – so named because there was no other like it – took 1,250 hours to make. It measures 7.2ft by 4ft and is made of wood, with intricate architectural detail added in plastics, fibre-glass resin and brass. The courtyards are decorated with 700 stucco plaster panels depicting Roman emperors, gods and goddesses and tiny paintings attached to the walls.
The Palace is accompanied by a Timeline, exhibits and Scale drawings of the Palace.
The Service Wing was built at the same time as the house. There were always between 11 and 16 servants at Nonsuch during the Farmers’ occupancy. It is located to the north of the house to allow the prevailing southwest winds to carry away smoke and smells and because it was cooler in a kitchen that faced north.
The original dairy at Nonsuch had two entrances, one from the courtyard and the other from the gardens used by the ladies of the house, who may have helped with the work. It was later converted into a public toilet for the formal gardens. The Friends of Nonsuch have recreated an 18th century country dairy in a small adjacent building of unknown purpose which was found to contain a collection of English delft tiles much like those in larger country dairies. Tiles were easy to keep clean and helped keep the milk products cool.
The Outer Scullery has different brickwork from the rest of the service wing, indicating that it was added later. It was probably used as a receiving and storage area for deliveries from the farms on the estate.
The Kitchen Scullery was used by the scullery maid for the cleaning of pots and pans and the preparation of food. There was a fireplace in the corner nearest the Kitchen, which was originally Georgian and included the dresser and open roasting range, but was remodelled in the Victorian period. The brick ovens under the window were probably part of a saucière, where sauces and casseroles were slowly cooked on the gentle heat of tiles and grid.
The Hallway and the Servants' Hall are now part of the café.
The Larders were divided into four separate areas: the inner larder or pantry for storing food; the outer larder or pantry for food in everyday use, some of it preserved in the wooden ice box; the pastry larder, where pastry was made in a cool environment away from the kitchen; and the game or wet larder (added in the 1860s with the pastry larder) where fresh meat, poultry and fish was prepared and kept. This was done with the aid of equipment including the Dutch crown in the centre of the larder, used for ageing and storing game.
The Laundry is divided into the wet and dry laundries. All of the area stretching from the larders to the laundries incorporates part of an earlier 18th century building which appears to have been three storeys high. The laundries may still have been in use in the Second World War as a wash house. Hot water was provided in the copper with fuel fed in via an outside stoke hole. The dry laundry was set aside for the drying and pressing of wet clothes using box and later upright mangles for larger items.
The Loose Box was presumably added to the existing stable block in 1806 and was used primarily for sick horses or mares in foal so they could lie down. It is divided into two sections with a central drain. In the southeast corner is a multiple feed, hay and water bay marked Paddington Iron Works 1806. During restoration the original brick floor was lifted, cleaned, raised and reinstalled with the bricks turned over. The Loose Box houses a permanent exhibition of the Nonsuch Collection of Stained Glass panels.