The Manor

The 1887 side of the building with the extension in the background © Sasha Taylor

The 1887 side of the building with the extension in the background

One family's love of Victorian art

When Theodore Mander commissioned the building of a new manor on Wightwick Bank in the Old English style in 1887 he started our story.
However his untimely death in 1900 left the care and development of the new home to his son Geoffrey. His story is one of art and design, industry and politics told through the house he saved and lived in.

Pre-Raphaelite art collection

Painting of a woman by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Painting of a woman by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Remarkably for a house now so associated with this art movement Wightwick had no Pre-Raphaelite art prior to 1937. Once the house was known to safely be in the hands of the National Trust Geoffrey and Lady Mander started to buy art to put on display for their visitors. The first was a portrait of Jane Morris by Rossetti and Madox Brown which the Manders donated to the National Trust. Over time a unique collection developed with some major pieces supplied by the National Trust and small works and sketches either purchased by the Trust or by the family.

Find out more

Interested in finding out more about a particular tiem in our collection? You can search our entire catalogue online, along with every item in the National Trust's ownership.

A family collection

A glimpse inside Wightwick Manor’s prized copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer.

Although the art and design collections stand out, most of the items at Wightwick are in fact deeply personal. The Mander family left an archive full of letters and photos covering their whole lives.

Creating a Morris house

Original Acanthus wallpaper in the Acanthus bedroom

Original Acanthus wallpaper in the Acanthus bedroom

It often surprises visitors that William Morris never came to the house, nor did his company formally design for it. Instead all the wallpapers, fabric wall coverings and soft furnishings were bought through the Morris & Co shop or catalogue. Unlike the art work Morris & Co designs were included in the 1887 and 1893 buildings, however they were much enhanced after the 1937 saving of the property as Sir Geoffrey expanded the Manor's 'Morrisania' as the National Trust's Historic Buildings secretary called it. This included sketches for Morris designs as well as large items of furnishings such as carpets and curtains.

Recapture your childhood

The night nursery

The nurseries at Wightwick are crammed with 3 generations of toys. We have added modern versions of many of these so that adults can recapture their youth and children discover life without batteries!

Go the full stretch but keep your toe down

Have a go on the Billiard table

The full sized Billiards table has been recovered allowing you to pretend you are an Edwardian gentleman and play in opulent surroundings.

Experience the smell of an open grate

Ready to bake - the original kitchen at Wightwick

The old range is still in use and lit on cold days giving the Victorian Kitchen a special atmosphere with the smell of burning coal.