One of the oddities of Charles Barry’s career is that he never designed a country house from scratch, but remodelled or extended existing buildings. One of the best preserved is Kingston Lacy, near Wimborne in Dorset, reconstructed for William Bankes from 1834 to 1841. Barry had earlier remodelled Bankes’s Welsh seat, Soughton Hall, Flintshire.
Now owned by the National Trust, Kingston Lacy is remarkable not just for its architecture and splendid art collection but for the fact that the interiors were largely fitted out when Bankes was living abroad, to escape prosecution for a homosexual offence.
Michael Hall is writing a queer history of the National Trust, to be published in 2024.