D is for Doll’s House
The West Dean Dolls House is believed to have been purchased by Edward James' father, William James, and is dated 1669. It is believed to be the earliest doll's house in the UK Made in Nuremburg it consists of eight, extensively furnished rooms including; a bedroom, a complete linen room, a dining room, a kitchen, two store rooms, stables and poultry yard set around a central staircase. The kitchen features a slate with painted representations of fish, vegetables, a pig's head, etc. Members of staff who were unable to read were then able to indicate what was needed by placing a mark in the accompanying space. The Dolls House is set within a painted pine cupboard with glazed doors, which seems to indicate it is the home of a merchant rather than a nobleman. Not a lot of people know that The House on the Hill, a story in the first ever collection of short stories The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales by British writer Kate Mosse was inspired by the antique Dolls House at West Dean.
"Although best known for my novels set in the southwest of France, for my first-ever collection of short stories, I've also taken inspiration from the landscape of Sussex as well as Carcassonne and Brittany," said Kate. "Several of the ghostly tales are set in and around my home town of Chichester - at Kingley Vale, the Fishbourne Marshes and on Harting Hill and one inspired by the wonderful Dolls House at West Dean."