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Come and see the Nonsuch Palace Model

Posted by Nonsuch Mansion

A quick reminder to make sure you come and see the elaborate large-scale model of Henry VIII’s Nonsuch Palace in the  Service Wing Museum here in Nonsuch Mansion, Nonsuch Park.


The 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.

The 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.

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