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Nonsuch Palace Model Unveiled

Posted by Nonsuch Mansion

An elaborate large-scale model of Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace has been unveiled here at Nonsuch Mansion and will now be a permanent feature at the Service Wing Museum in Nonsuch Mansion, Nonsuch Park.

nonsuch-palace-model.jpg.displayThe model shows intricate detail of the Tudor masterwork, which was reputed to be the most luxurious residence in England, if not Europe. The superb model was built in 1,250 hours by master modelmaker Ben Taggart, who has also made models for exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum. It was commissioned by volunteer group Friends of Nonsuch, in a project led by Professor Martin Biddle from Oxford University after he dedicated years to researching the palace’s history. Professor Biddle was an undergraduate when he directed the excavation of the site, in Cuddington, in 1959. He has spent years painstakingly analysing written and illustrated evidence, as well as pouring over surviving fragments of stucco and slate, in preparation for the creation of 2.2m by 1.2m (7.2ft by 3.9ft) model.

nonsuch-palace-model-2.jpg.displayThe real palace is long gone and the site is at the north end of Nonsuch Park, far from the mansion. About 1,300 fragments of carved slate were found during an excavation of the site in 1959, along with a variety of royal badges, three busts of Roman emperors, trophies of arms, and figures. It was built by Henry VIII in the 16th century to keep up with the extravagant palaces of the French king, Francis I.

The friends group, which raised all the money for the project, hopes the model will mean it is enjoyed by generations to come.

Gerald Smith, chairman of the Friends of Nonsuch said: “The unveiling went very well. Everybody was delighted how good and lifelike the model was. It’s the first of its kind, so it makes it extra special. As Professor Biddle said today, this is as accurate a recreation with the information we have. It will take pride of place in the stable block of Nonsuch Mansion.”

The model will be on public display between 17 September and 5 November, find full opening times here.