The village of Lacock has become celebrated for its repeated appearance as one of the settings for costume dramas in film and television. The house, however, is worthy of its own attention; formerly a nunnery (still much evident in its architecture), it was adapted into a domestic dwelling after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 by Sir William Sharington (c.1495–1553), the corrupt Vice-Treasurer of the Bristol Mint. The Gothick additions were commissioned from Sanderson Miller by John Ivory Talbot (c.1691–1772). Perhaps one of the most famous residents of Lacock was the pioneer of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–1877), although sadly neither his photographs, nor his collection of Early Italian pictures have come to the Abbey. The pictures consist mostly of old copies of Old Masters, including a striking contemporary copy of Cornelis Van Haarlem’s allegorical portrait of Jan Govertsz. van der Aar, the original of which is at Knole. The key contents of the house were given by Matilda Fox Talbot in 1944.
National Trust, Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum and Village
Lacock, near Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 2PG England
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