Created by dollhouse enthusiast Mark O’Banks and gifted to the
Hudson River Museum in 2006, Nybelwyck Hall is unique for both design
and for the glimpse it gives of a dollhouse family—the Van Nybelwycks.
The name Van Nybelwyck Hall is Dutch-sounding, like other
Hudson Valley names but it was invented by O’Banks when he
consulted a oujia board. Its facade, though, is based on very real
historic Hudson Valley homes, notably the Ogden Mills House in
Staatsburg and Wilderstein in Rhinebeck. Like Glenview, here at the
Museum, Nybelwyck contains a center double staircase that curves
from the top floor to a Great Hall.
Van Nybelwyck Hall is a Lilliputian house for all ages, thanks
to the detail, taste, and wit we spy in its 24 rooms that bear colorful
names, among them the Egyptio-Tudor Room, the Gothic Library,
and the Cathedral of the Lost Souls (the “attic”). The rooms are “stage
sets” for the 20 Van Nybelwyck family members and their friends
who live in the house that climbs four stories and stands 8 feet
wide, 3 ½ feet high, and 2 feet deep. Over 900 interior objects were
built and bought by O’Banks, who crafted staircases, cross-stitched
carpets, papered walls, and roofed it with 1,500 slate tiles.
Mouse over images
The Van Nybelwyck story begins in the Godiva Sewing Room
where a drop of blood glistens on daughter Celestine’s wedding dress,
an omen of upended plans as her engagement party is about to begin.
Her father, Old Bostwyck, has chosen the groom. Tosca, her music teacher,
has other ideas. The story has wings.