Nostell, National Trust

Nostell : Work'd by hand.

In our archives, in a box, bundled with faded invoices, receipts and drawings is 11 year-long daybook of accounts. It was presented by Joseph Rose, master plasterer, as a bill for his work at Nostell from 1766 to 1777 and includes an instruction for 22 feet and 2 inches of ‘oak leaves work’d by hand’. For us that phrase, ‘work’d by hand’, still rings true. It sums up how Nostell was created, by whom and why, how it was lived in, and how it still is today.

Nostell is an 18th century architectural masterpiece and home to an outstanding collection, yet it defined as much by where it sits as by the treasures it holds.  Based in the middle of Wakefield and the 5 towns, the locality has been hewn by its connection with the land both on it and under it.    Its communities have ‘work’d by hand’ in the fields, in the mines, in the estate and in the house itself;  the tradition of honest, hard work continues today through our staff and volunteers ensuring Nostell is maintained and cared for to the highest possible standard.

 Nostell’s collection is of national and international significance. It rooms are decorated with beautiful hand-painted Chinese wallpapers, and elegant decorative plasterwork ceilings. It houses artworks by Hogarth, Kauffman Brueghel, and a lovely Georgian dolls house. Each piece has its own story: stories of local Yorkshire craftsmen, like Chippendale, whose graft and craftsmanship have made him famous, and a whole cast of skilled craftsman from far flung places who have made the Nostell you see today. 

We want continue this creative, innovative spirit at Nostell, by exploring new ways of connecting our visitors to our special place and its beautiful collection. We are looking forward to creating opportunities for today’s artists and makers to be inspired by Nostell’s rich collection, and to help us   in turn, inspire our visitors.