View of Dordrecht (from the Maas) by Aelbert Cuyp

Art & collections

Sprung bells at Speke Hall, Liverpool

Did you ring, sir? Country house communication through the ages 

How did people communicate with servants in sprawling stately homes before the invention of telephones? Learn more about early innovations in country house communication from sprung bells to speaking tubes.

Portrait of the Marquis de Champcenetz by Thomas Gainsborough

A noble return: Gainsborough’s portrait of a French marquis 

A story of friendship in a time of war and revolution - discover the history behind Gainsborough's elegant portrait of a French nobleman, returned to Knole after an absence of more than 80 years.

Exhibition highlights


Loans to others

Each year we lend many items from our collections to external exhibitions. Currently, our magnificent 'Judgement of Solomon' by Sebastiano del Piombo is on view at the National Gallery.

Conservators Judy Wetherall and Pete Jenkins retouching one of eight gilded sconces in the new Conservation Studio

Faded magnificence: Rescuing Knole and its collections from decay 

Discover more about our work to save Knole in Kent from centuries of damp and decay. Curator Emma Slocombe explores the project as its state-of-the-art Conservation Studio opens to the public.

A pair of jawbones flank the door in the Great Hall at Cotehele in Cornwall

The whale’s tale: the puzzle of Cotehele's giant jawbones 

For nearly 150 years, a mysterious pair of whale jawbones have flanked the doorway in the Great Hall at Cotehele in Cornwall. Cutting edge DNA analysis and a recent housekeeping discovery have shed new light on the bones and how they came to Cotehele.

Miniature painting of Lord Herbert of Cherbury by Isaac Oliver / Powis Castle

Latest acquisitions 

The artworks and objects at our places are constantly revitalised through new acquisitions. Most recently an iconic Elizabethan miniature portrait has been secured for Powis Castle and for the nation.

Explore our collections

The majority of objects in our care are recorded in our online database. You'll find many intriguing items to explore at places near you