One of the most incredible things at Uppark is the very impressive doll’s house they have that dates from 1735-40. It is one of the two most important 18th century British doll’s houses and has only been slightly damaged from its hurried evacuation from the 1989 Uppark fire. It was brought to Uppark by Sarah Lethieullier on her marriage to Sir Matthew Featherstonhaugh in 1746 and is thought to have been for adult use rather than for children. The doll’s house would have been used to teach the ladies of the house how their household should be run and provides an amazing glimpse into what life in a Georgian house would have been like, for both the family and the servants below stairs.
The reason it is thought to be for adult use is the quality of the objects in the house. There are beautiful oil paintings in each of the rooms, all of the silver in the house is real and there are pewter plates displayed in the kitchen. Also the furniture is beautifully crafted for the house and is all original as the house has not been remodelled or redecorated since it was created. One of the more interesting facts is that the servant dolls are made of wood while the family dolls are made of wax. This reflected the status of the dolls as the wax took more time to sculpt and gave the opportunity for finer detail. H.G Wells grew up in the house as at one point his mother was the housekeeper of Uppark and he has written of playing with the doll’s house “under imperious direction”, again suggesting it was not for children.
This fascinating doll’s house is a must see, if not for the history then just to see the incredible craftsmanship.
(Check Uppark opening times here)