An armillary helicentric planetarium in Admiral at Snowshill Manor, Gloucestershire

Art & collections

Portrait of Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples / Attingham Park

Europe & us in 99 historic objects 

In this year when our political relationship with the continent has been so hotly debated, we have put together a selection of items from our vast collections that help examine our nation’s rich and ancient cultural connections to our neighbours. Every weekday we’ll be highlighting a new item to discover what story it has to tell.

Winston Churchill's speech box on display at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Churchill's life in five objects 

Each item in the collections at Churchill's family home Chartwell, tells a different story about his life. Our curator Neil Walters highlights his pick of Churchill's personal belongings that we hope to keep at Chartwell.

Exhibition highlights

Dress conservators preparing Ellen Terry beetle wing dress for display at Smallhythe Place, Kent.

If clothes could talk... 

Why was Marie Antoinette’s garters designed by a dentist? Why was a 19th-century lord determined to make a coat in a day? And why did dressmakers painstakingly sew jewel beetles’ wings onto a costume for Lady Macbeth?

Close up of the wallpaper in the Chinese Bedroom at Felbrigg House, Norfolk

The hidden meaning in Chinese design at our places 

Did you know that peonies, pine trees and plums symbolise specific wishes and feelings in oriental design? Discover the unexpected meanings of the intertwining birds and flowers on 'chinoiserie' wallpaper, vases and textiles.

Beatrix Potter, Dinner in Mouseland, 1890-1895 / Beatrix Potter Gallery

Between naturalism and fantasy: the art of Beatrix Potter 

We house the single largest collection of Beatrix Potter's published illustrations, as well as a treasure trove of letters, photographs, unpublished drawings and manuscripts. What do her works reveal about her commitment to scientific accuracy and imaginative exploration?

Recent acquisitions and loans

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