From the National Trust archives
A Visit to Kingston Lacy in Dorset
At Kingston Lacy in Dorset, Bettany Hughes meets House Steward Bernie King to learn about William John Bankes who, during the 19th Century, turned Kingston Lacy into the treasure trove you’ll find today. This extraordinary house is a testament to Bankes’ obsession for exploring and collecting in Europe and beyond. Bettany examines his fabulous European art collection with paintings expert Christine Sitwell and is given exclusive access to William John’s sitting room to learn more about what made him tick.
The tragedy of Bankes’ life is that he never saw out his days at Kingston Lacy after he was forced into exile in Italy for being gay, at a time when homosexuality was illegal. Although Bettany learns it is very likely he visited the house incognito to comment on the door hinges!