Keep 'A Game of Bowls' at Ightham Mote

John Singer Sargent captured a moment of Ightham Mote’s past in his painting 'A Game of Bowls' and you can help us keep it here for everyone to enjoy.

Sargent's 'A Game of Bowls' painting shows 6 figures on the north lawn, with the house to the left.
The south east corner of the house reflected on the moat

We need your help

With no grand family association, Ightham Mote has changed hands over the generations. When each family left, they took the contents with them or sold them off.

As a result, the house has few items which are original - in fact, only about 35% of our contents have a connection to Ightham Mote. We now have a unique opportunity to add something else to our collection.

Can you help keep this special painting here?

Sargent's 'A Game of Bowls' painting shows 6 figures on the north lawn, with the house to the left.

A Game of Bowls 

This large-scale painting by John Singer Sargent is on loan to us from a private collection in the USA.

It depicts Ightham Mote in 1889, with Queen Palmer and her daughter Elsie, enjoying a game of bowls on the North Lawn with their friends, Mr and Mrs Jameson, Alma Strettell and Sargent’s sister Violet.

Help us keep this painting at Ightham Mote.

About 'A Game of Bowls'

  • The painting was created in 1889
  • The painting is 229.2cm x 142.9cm
  • In order to aquire the painting, we need to raise £100,000
" There are a few Sargent portraits in oil and drawings in National Trust houses, but none remotely like 'A Game of Bowls'. It is a unique piece of art."
- Richard Ormond, former Deputy Director of the National Portrait Gallery
View of the north face of Ightham Mote with the cottages behind, and silhouettes on the lawn to replicate Sargent's painting.

Ightham Mote was left to the National Trust by Charles Henry Robinson in 1985. Over the years, through bequests and purchases, we’ve been able to get some items back.

However, the ‘Game of Bowls’ painting is special because it not only depicts past tenants and visitors, but also shows how the house, garden and cottages looked in the late 19th century.

Please give generously to keep it here.

Black and white photograph from c.1889 of Queen Palmer with her daughter Elsie, and Kelpie the dog.

Queen of Ightham Mote exhibition

Our special exhibition during 2017 and early 2018 focuses on Queen Palmer's stay at Ightham Mote when it became an artistic hub playing host to leading cultural figures, including artist John Singer Sargent.

Donate to Keep 'A Game of Bowls' at Ightham Mote

Please select an amount

£5 is a small step helping us keep Sargent’s snapshot of a particular moment in history.
£10 would help us bring the painting back to its original location.
£25 takes us a step closer to keeping this painting at Ightham Mote for ever, for everyone
Or enter your own amount

Why give to the National Trust?

As a charity, we rely on the generosity of supporters to look after the irreplaceable treasures in our care. Memberships help to pay for some of the work we do. But they only go so far. Additional donations are crucial to maintaining our collections, from stunning works of silverware to personal keepsakes that bring the past to life. Your donation will go towards this project and other vital conservation work to our collections at this special place. With your support, we can continue to conserve, protect and provide access to these fascinating pieces of history. For ever, for everyone.

Donate now to help us keep the painting