Nymans piano

A volunteer playing the piano

The Garden Hall piano was made in 1881 by John Broadwood & Sons. The piano was custom built for Ludwig Messel and features a mahogany and satinwood case with a number of decorative features.

Live Piano Playing

Ludwig loved music and Victorian London offered ample opportunities for him to enjoy it.  Private music parties were very popular; the English composer Arthur Sullivan and his librettist W.S. Gilbert (known to the Messel children as ‘Uncle Schwenk’) both became friends and their work was much enjoyed.

The piano was eventually brought to Nymans and only survived the fire in 1947 because it had been taken temporarily to the home of Mrs Messel’s companion, Daphne Dengate – the daughter of the Vicar of Staplefield.

At Nymans it has always been covered by family photographs and in 2013 the piano was conserved, allowing us to have it played for visitors. All of our pianists are volunteers. If you play the piano and are interested in joining the team, please contact James on 01444 405250.

Room guide chatting to visitors at Nymans
Room guide chatting to visitors at Nymans
Room guide chatting to visitors at Nymans

Talks and Tours

Join in on one of our tours and find out more about the Messel family and their home. Each morning (Monday – Friday) one of our knowledgeable Room Stewards will be leading a tour of the Messel Family Rooms, detailing the history of the house and the fascinating story of those who lived here. This tour is limited to six spaces. Tickets are available in Visitor Reception and are free of charge.

Every weekday afternoon (Monday – Friday) at 2pm, one of our volunteers will be leading a ‘Dream House’ tour. Find out more about how Nymans developed the architecture of the house, and how Leonard and Maud Messel transformed Nymans into their dream home. This tour is not ticketed and is free of charge. The tour starts in the Forecourt Garden by the Dovecote at 2pm.